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About Literature / Hobbyist Ian Chisholm27/Male/United States Groups :icongrammarnazicritiques: GrammarNaziCritiques
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Soldiers and Beastmen clash across the field of battle, encumbered by armor or agile without, armed with weapons new or broken. Their eyes gleam red, reflecting light from the many bonfires roaring on either side. No quarter is asked, none is given. Lives continue with each lucky dodge, each lackluster strike, each step backward. Lives end with each passing breath.

The gate of the fort lies smashed. Soldiers fight a pitched battle in front of it, holding the sea of Beastmen at bay with shields and spears. The captain with the glowing claymore holds the apex of the line, her claymore sweeping back and forth, while the Small Folk captain with twin spiral lances stands just behind her, his lances punching through the Beastmen that try to surround her. The shield wall parts for soldiers in heavy armor to charge out and break the largest crashing waves. Those that don’t make it back become part of the red tide underfoot, along with the broken bodies of animals.

In the fort’s courtyard, Klax and several other priests in white stand in a large circle, facing the center with their eyes closed and their hands together in prayer. A towering spike of white light rises between them, topped by a radiant orb. The sides of the spike ripple like the folds of a cloak, and the light from the shining orb is warm and beckoning. Soldiers stagger into the circle, fall upon the ground with their heads bowed, and emerge from the circle later with injuries and fatigue vanished.

Atop the wall, Jorg and the bow-wielding captain rain down stones and flaming arrows. Other black priests and archers hold the rest of the wall. Priests in white, standing in groups of three to five, lift their hands below floating orbs of harsh light, from which white rays slice across the ground below. Beastmen leap at the wall along the entire length, with some almost reaching the top or even gripping a thin lip along the sides. A rare few succeed in climbing up to the wall-top, where the priests and archers hold up cudgels to counter their flashing bone knives.

Crab-type MEKs lumber through the battlefield, their large sword-shaped legs piercing the earth and mulching the corpses. If they get within a hundred helms of the walls, they break into a run. A figure appears before any of them can reach the fighting. The Drunk is sweating and red-faced, his shawl gone somewhere. He picks them up by a sword-leg, spins them around twice, and throws them back toward the valley walls. With no time to rest, he dashes off for the next oncoming MEK.

A lone vulture circles high above. It flaps off towards a rocky mountain ridge, lands, and morphs into Rusty. He stretches his arms and yawns. “Be there any news?”

Sah and the orc Rams sit around a small campfire. Rams shakes his head and goes back to his meditative pose. Two others look up at Rusty’s arrival. One is a human boy bundled in a large white robe, with corn-yellow hair covering his eyes. The other is a rail-thin Small Folk female wearing a light red cape, her sallow skin hanging off her bones.

Rusty grunts and sits beside Sah. “The groundlings be doing well, with the help of their captains.” He rests his head on Sah’s shoulder.

The human boy in white reaches up, plucks a hair from his head, and sticks the follicle into his mouth. “The beasts do not fight with Kem’s guidance.” He gulps and smiles. “With His love, their wrath would be unstoppable.”

The spectral wolf leaps out of Rusty’s back and stalks away to pace beside the cliff edge, its gaze glued to the distant battle. Rusty places his arm up on Sah’s shoulder and turns his head to the wolf.

“Be you concerned for the beasts, boy? Attacking a defending force be part of their training. The strong will survive.”

The wolf huffs, and shakes its fur. Rusty frowns, then turns forward again. He finds the Small Folk woman staring at him, her eyes drilling into his. Rusty blinks, sits up straight, and glares back at her.

“Mage, while you be under my command, be not using magic to communicate. Speak!”

She opens her mouth and works her jaw back and forth. Her voice emerges in a dry whisper, “Sir, is your wolf not a spirit totem manifestation?”

Rusty shakes his head. “He be my friend. I be hearing the like before, but he be not what you think.” He glances back at the spectral wolf. “We met soon after I be accepted into the Phoenix Army. He attacked me in a mountain forest, we fought to a draw, then because I be impressed by his power, I invited him to go with me.”

The human boy in white nods. “Kem has said that family can be found anywhere. War shall make all the world as one family, with one purpose.”

Rusty rolls his eyes. “He be traveling with me, that be all.” He sighs, and turns to lay his head in Sah’s lap. “I think he be searching for something, or someone.”

Sah frowns down at him. “Searching for who, sir?”

“I be not knowing, my curious … ly comfortable desert cactus.” He smiles up at her. “I be attempting many times to communicate with him, but the magic be not working. He be not speaking.”

“Then how,” but Sah shakes her head and looks away. “Never mind, sir. It is not my place to ask questions of a superior officer.”

Rusty nods. “But as my love, it be your place. You be wishing to know why I say he be searching for someone?” He pats his chest. “When he be resting within, I be feeling impressions from him. He be always searching, wandering, wanting - like I be, before I be finding you, my straight box canyon.”

Sah looks back down at him with an eyebrow raised. The human boy in white sticks out his tongue and turns away from the couple, while the Small Folk woman leans forward and stares at them.

Rams opens one eye and turns to the spectral wolf. After a moment he closes the eye. “The spirit’s mind cannot be read, or there is no mind to read.” He turns to Rusty. “Sir, in regards to our primary objective. Waiting here does us no good. We should enter the groundling fort while they are distracted by battle, and retrieve what we seek.”

Rusty grimaces. “That be fine, if we be knowing where it be, or what it be. I be seeing items from other planes before, but never something from outside our reality. The idea that there be something left over from the scouting force of an invasion be difficult to believe.”

“You doubt Kem?” The human boy rises to his feet and sneers down at Rusty. “You may be equal to Him in rank, but He is a god, while you are a mortal. When He says something is so, it is so!” The boy sits again and plucks another hair from his head.

Sah nods. “The word of Kem is absolute, sir.”

“We are all gods,” Rams intones.

Rusty grunts and pulls his head off Sah’s lap. He stands, walks away, and stops beside the spectral wolf watching the battle at the edge of the cliff. The claws slide out of his fingers, then in again. He snorts and turns back to the others.

“What I be wanting is information on what this thing be looking like. Be that too much to ask? Without it, we be needing to search the place from top to bottom, and several times if it be not apparent.”

The boy in white clasps his hands and lifts his face to the sky. “We are on a holy quest for God Kem. We shall find what we seek with His loving guidance.” Lowering his face back down to them, the boy smiles. “You will know His wrath if you press for more information than He has already graciously provided.”

Rusty grunts at the boy. “And what guidance be that?”

“That we were sent with you.” The boy in white smiles. “As a priest of Kem, I am of course closer to His thoughts. If I see this thing, it will be obvious to me.”

The Small Folk raises her hand. “If the artifact is magical in any normal sense, I can detect it from close range.”

“Now there be a good idea.” Rusty grins and points at the two. “You both will search for it while we oversee the battle. Use your magic to get inside the groundling fort, and report back if there be some problem.”

The boy in white scowls. “You wish to do nothing and make us work.”

Rusty shrugs. “I be your commander on this assignment, that be in my power.” Then he smiles. “But no. I think the beasts be struggling enough. While you be inside, we be doing something about those troublesome captains. And be not you wishing to find the thing your god wants? I be giving you the credit, if you find it. Now go.”

The Small Folk woman and the boy in white glance at each other. He grins and rises to his feet again. She stands and reaches toward him, while drawing glowing sigils in the air with a finger. They vanish after clasping hands.

Sah looks up at Rusty. “What are your orders, sir?”

He turns to stare at the battle. “The large man be only tiring himself out. And I be thinking it best to leave someone that strong alone. So there be two captains on the wall top, two at the front gate, and one in the courtyard. We be splitting up.”

Rusty points at Rams. “Stop the priests in the courtyard. When you be finished there, join Sah.” He turns to the half-human woman. “I be dropping you on the wall-top. Kill one or both of the captains, and defend the position. I be killing the defenders at the gate, then joining you on the wall. We be leaving, and the beasts be taking the fort. Be there objections?”

“None.” Rams stands and bows his head. “I wish you both luck and soundness of mind. I go to die today. I am satisfied.” He bows his head twice more, and walks away.

Sah grimaces. “Does he have to always say that?”

“Everyone be having their way of coping with battle, my bold blue rose. And he be right someday.” Rusty helps the half-human woman to her feet, and pulls her close. “And speaking of, I be looking forward to after the battle.” He grins.

She sighs. “I do not want to act as I do after battle, sir. You are enjoying something I consider a flaw as a warrior.” Pressing her forehead against his, she closes her eyes. “With that said … where?”

“I be thinking the dead commander’s bedchambers.” Rusty throws back his head and lets out a shrill laughter. He repeats the tone until it sounds like the hunting cry of a bird. His body grows huge and covered in feathers, his arms become wings, and his legs turn into scaly talons. The roc flaps its wings, grabs Sah by her arms, and flies off into the air with her.

The bow-wielding captain reaches back and finds his quarrel empty. He growls at Jorg, “I need more arrows!”

“Do I look like your errand boy?” The orc’s left hand glows black as he scoops up a rough orb of stone and holds it to the sun. Glowing white, his right hand rubs the stone. “Gods, I call upon you. As the sun and the moon are always present, so too are you. Damned God who commands stone, Light who commands fire, combine your powers.” He throws the stone, which explodes among the horde of Beastmen below. Jorg turns to the captain with the bow. “But I do need more stone. I’ll tell a private to bring arrows up from storage.”

The shadow of a bird flits along the wall, and corkscrews above. Moments later the giant bird flashes past over their heads. The air swirls and tosses sand everywhere, as weapon racks fall over. Soldiers brace against the wind, or fall to their knees.

Sah falls from the sky, covered in heavy, black armor. She carries a thick black shield taller than most humans. Her boots flash a steely gray, and her fall slows until she is only drifting down.

She lands on an empty space of wall, orients on the two captains, and charges with her shield held before her. Her gauntlets flash a dark umber, and soldiers go flying as she crashes past them. She slams into the bow-wielding captain as he is still rubbing sand out of his eyes. He hurtles off the wall with a cry, and into the horde.

Jorg uncovers his eyes and blinks at Sah. He grunts out, “Damned God, grant me strength.” She swings her shield around to bash against him. Black shadow bracers form around his arms, and he blocks the shield, though his arms shake. “Light, grant me fortitude.” A translucent white cloak settles down over his shoulders, and his arms stop shaking.

Sah steps back and spins around, as a dozen projectiles come from every direction. Her shield and armor intercept them all, the arrows smashing to bits against her and the stones rebounding with small plink sounds. Facing the orc captain again, she holds up her tower shield and swings the edge at him, cleaving through the air as she comes at him.

He whispers, “Light, grant me swiftness.” His boots glow white and he skates wide around the oncoming armored woman. “Damned God, fell my foe.” He kicks one of the stones that rebounded off her. The stone scatters into marble-sized chunks which roll below her heavy boots.

She turns to follow him, and slips on the small stones. Her foot flies out from under her, but she catches herself against the ground with a shield. The black armor softens and becomes a black cloak, which wraps tighter until her body vanishes in the ever-constricting folds. The cloak folds in on itself and is gone.

The cloak unfolds in the air behind Jorg, and Sah appears as the cloak forms into heavy armor again. She bashes her shield against his back, sending him flying forward.

He tumbles along the ground, and stops on one knee. He wipes blood from his lips with a shaking hand, picks up a stone, and turns around to throw it. She is standing behind him, the flat of the shield coming down at him. When the stone and shield connect, the stone crumbles and the shield stops. With another step Sah is standing over Jorg, the shield again coming at him. He raises his crossed arms up to block as she pummels him.
High War - Chapter 25.2
This was the first time I've put into words how Sah and Jorg fight. I've known at the broad strokes level that Sah uses her tower shield and magic armor to fight, but I was deciding for the first time here how it works at a detail level. Charge attacks, ramming, using the flat of the shield for power, using the edge for speed, and I'm still coming up with stuff. Her cloak teleporting her out of bad situations was something I had considered, especially since she got to choose the enchantments of her set, but I had to decide here what it looks like. And similarly for Jorg, I've known he uses divine physical enhancement spells to fight, so I went with some of the same spells Klax has used (they're friends, they would share spells) with the addition of new DG spells. Coming up with the words for his duel-god grenade spell was interesting, although I think it should be longer, since longer spells generally mean higher level. Also, is it odd how some of their stuff looks similar? Such as how their arms glow a dark color for strength, and their feet glow a light color for movement. I guess that's sort of in-world realism, sort of writing new stuff at the same time and being influenced by each other.

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a fantasy-ish world. I believe my preview image comes from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences; there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for reading, and I'm always happy to discuss the chapter if you have a comment for it.


Next: soon ...
The cave is large and full of shadows. Beads of light shine down from the walls, with sputtering torches placed in a few gaps between. Some areas of the room are enclosed by white screen curtains, behind some of which can be heard chanting. People in white coats step into and out of them.

Beds of every type litter the uneven ground. Men and women who look unconscious rest in twin or even triplet bunk beds. Those with bleeding wounds have been wrapped in bandages and placed on cots. The single beds are often screened off from their neighbors.

In one corner of the room, Zarah sits cross-legged on the top bunk of a bed with a metal frame. Her eyes are closed, her mouth half open. She strokes the large gray cloak huddled in her lap. Five cannonball-sized stones nuzzle against her in the bed. Her black cloak hangs on the corner of the bed, and her cleaver-shaped sword leans against the wall. A large stalactite hangs about a helm above, pointing down at her head.

A large black scar, jagged like the edge of a serrated knife, cuts down the side of her face. The scar starts at her forehead, crosses where her eyebrow should be, passes through her eye, down her cheek, meets the corner of her lips, and ends near her chin. There is nothing clean or beautiful about the scar.

People pass by the bed, often colorless, sometimes blurred, or appearing and disappearing. Jorg stands beside the bed, pleading, “Babe, speak to us. I forgive you for tying me up, I don’t care that you went out there, and I think you’re still beautiful. I just want to hear your voice and know you’re okay.” He stares at her, and vanishes.

Klax kneels in the bed beside her. “I’ve done everything I can. Light tells me she needs time. That’s all we can do for her.” The Small Folk disappears.

The Drunk paces beside the bed, his body a blur in motion. “We’ve decided ta fight, lass. I don’t know what it will achieve, but the lads will not lay down their arms. When that green lad returns, we’ll tell him.” He stops beside the bed and looks at her. “We could use your help, lass.” He blurs away.

Jorg appears and rests his head against the bed frame. “Zarah, we’re forming up the lines. I won’t be able to see you for a while, but I will come back. If there’s a lull, I’ll visit. If we win, I’ll take you out of here, and we’ll go somewhere far away. It will be a vacation, wherever you want to go.” He smiles up at her. “Okay? So please smile, and wish me luck. Just say anything.” He is soon gone.

Thunder rocks the cave. The stalactites shake, a white screen tips over, and dust falls from the ceiling and walls. A few of the people in the cave cry out, but nothing heavy falls on them. Booms and crashes become a constant background noise.

In the lower bed, a gray-haired Small Folk woman prays. “Light, protect us. Damned God, deny us. Light, strengthen our hope. Damned God, bring despair to our enemies. Light, prepare our souls. Damned God, take us gently.”

Zarah’s hands clench around the gray cloak. She grits her teeth, and her body shakes. Tears fall from her unscarred eye, but not from the other. She opens her eyes. The unscarred eye is wet and dull.

The other eye is a ragged, black socket. Zarah reaches up, feels around the empty hole, then digs her fingers in and pulls out a shriveled grape of black flesh. She chokes, gags, and leans over to throw up off the side of the bed.

Her hand grips the metal bed frame. The metal shivers and rattles, then makes a thin grinding sound. The entire top bunk separates from the lower and steps forward on metal poles, which bend at three joints each. The bed wobbles to the side, then forward several paces, and back to lean against a wall, avoiding the unconscious people in cots on the floor.

Zarah, huddled flat in the bed, soon sits back up and looks around. She scowls, and the gray cloak slithers around her shoulders and up to cover her eye socket. After staring at the bed for a moment through her good eye, she looks down at her hand.

She slaps the cave wall next to the bed. The stone rumbles a little, no louder than the shaking from above. Then a bead of light pops loose from the wall above, falls into the bed, and rolls over to Zarah. She picks up the glowing marble, stares at it, then shoves it into her empty eye socket.

With one normal eye and one glowing marble, she stares around the room. Only a few people have noticed her in the dim room, but they stare back, eyes wide. She scowls, drops lower to the bed, and places her hand back on the metal bed frame. The bed stilt-walks away and out through the cave’s entrance.

They amble through empty halls, the tall bed stepping around anyone who happens to run past. Whenever they come to an intersection, the bed takes the darker path. The tunnels, natural and built, often slope down. There are less people down here, and voices in the distance become rare. At last there is none one.

The bed pauses outside a dark offshoot tunnel with a yellow sign over top, 'Restricted Area No Admittance Authorized Personnel Only.' Zarah stares up and blinks. She pats the bed’s metal frame. They pass under the sign, with Zarah’s marble eye giving some light to the ancient path. There are no more intersections.

An iron-banded wall and heavy door soon blocks the path. There is no sign on this door, but there is a heavy padlock on the handles, pale white ropes crisscrossing the face, and a small table beside the door with a deck of cards and two wooden stools.

The bed eases in near the door, and Zarah leans down to take a closer look at the padlock. She reaches over to the corner of the bed, picks up the black cloak, and searches through the inner pocket with one hand. She scowls, and looks around. One of the cannonball-shaped stones nudges her knee.

Zarah reaches over and places her hands below the round stone. She strains to lift it, stops, takes a deep breath, and tries again. Still the stone does not move. She grimaces at it, but then her expressions softens. Shaking her head, she pats the stone. Then she takes another deep breath and tries to lift it. This time the stone raises a hair, then drops. The other stones roll over and around her, bumping against her legs. She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. When she releases the breath, she lifts the round stone high, glances up at it, and crashes the stone down against the door.

The pieces of the padlock and the door’s handles fall to the ground. Zarah sets the round stone back down on the bed, pats it, and rubs her hands. She nudges the metal bed frame, which rams the door several times. The heavy door swings open, the decayed white ropes fall away like spider webs, and they pass through.

Some of the tunnel wall here is furnished with rough bricks. At first there were none. Then the walls are half-covered in them, as if the bricks were being placed or removed, but the construction was stopped. Then all of the wall is covered in bricks, and the floor is brick, and the ceiling a brick archway.

Stale air issues out from before them, a whoosh like the release of a breath. Words come whispered on the wind, “Who? Are you?” A heavy, slow drum beat begins. “Why? Are you here?”

The walking bed brings them into a large, rectangular room. Near to them are several dozen rows of bench seats. At the far end of the room, a gold altar sits atop a dais. Braziers around the room burst into flame. The light is red and makes dancing, bloody shadows upon the walls.

“You. Are foolish to come here.” The voice comes from the altar, and the brazier flames dance with each word. “I. Am death. I. Am darkness.”

Zarah huddles down in the bed, her hands around the stones beside her legs, and the gray cloak wraps tighter around her. The bed brings them to the steps of the dais.

“You. Wish to die?” The voice is all around her now, and the drum beat is loud. “I! Have waited more than. One hundred years! To kill again!”

Zarah picks up one of the stones, hefts it in her hands, and throws the stone at the golden altar. The alter crumples under the shot and falls backwards. The stone rolls out from the hole and over to the bed.

“What? Are you doing?” The voice is frantic. “Why? Do you throw things in my temple?”

The half-human hefts another stone. “Jorg once told me all the new recruits have to guard a door in the deepest, darkest passage of Foe Hall. And they say behind that door is a demon, the last remaining from when this place was controlled by them. I wanted to see if the legend was true.”

“Is. That so?” A booming laughter comes. “I. Am indeed here!”

The drum beats reaches a crescendo, and a figure appears, floating above the alter. Yellow-brown hair covers its body, in some places braided with red and black ribbons. A golden, open-chested robe adorns its frame. It has a face like a jackal, a lanky humanoid body with backwards-folding knees, and three-toed paws that end in sharp claws.

“I! Am Ye’nak’zahareth!” The voice still comes from all around, and the jackal's mouth does not move in time with the floating creature’s words. Its face splits into a toothy grin. “Meaning. God. Of death. That comes from the shadows.”

Zarah and the floating demon stare at each other. The grin on the jackel face falls away, and the demon blinks down at the half-human. She hefts her stone, and throws it at the demon. It catches the stone its chest, and slams backwards against the wall. The demon pulls itself out of the wall, shakes, and throws the stone back at Zarah with a growl. She catches the stone in one hand, and places it back down on the bed.

The demon glares at her. “You! Cannot hurt a god.”

Zarah shrugs. “I thought I’d give it a try. You’re the second so-called god I’ve met. The first was more impressive.”

The demon hangs its head and whines. “I. Am weak at this moment.” The demon sniffs. “My. Believers in this reality are all dead.”

The half-human tilts her head to the side. “Huh?” She extends the gray cloak out over the edge of the bed, where it wraps around the stone on the floor, and lifts the stone up to join the others in the bed.

The demon sighs and reclines back in the air. “Gods. Wield power from believers.” The drum beat slows to a relaxed tone. “I. Am weak without believers.”

Zarah nods. “Then you shouldn’t have killed all your believers.”

“I! Did not!” The demon frowns. “I. Came to prepare for the invasion.” It raises clawed fists. “I! Had many believers!” It hangs its head again. “But. They were killed by a monster. I. Would have died without my precautions.”

The half-human snorts. “So you failed at your task, failed to protect your believers, and failed to die.” She falls back in the bed, with the stones pressed close to her. “You’re a failure.”

The demon whines, “I! Could do nothing! I. Gave my believers power! But. The monster would not die!” It shivers. “Blasphemy.”

“Some god of death you are.” Zarah shakes her head. “You should have faced your enemy directly. Then at least you would know you did everything you could. You’d be satisfied with your failure. You still might have lost everything, but you wouldn’t be complaining about it.”

Waving its paw back and forth, the demon sneers. “Gods. Can easily wait. A hundred years. My. Fellow gods will arrive soon. I. Will join them for. A thousand years. Of feasting.”

“You think they’ll take a failure back?” Zarah stares at the ceiling. “I’ll tell you what they’ll do. They’ll laugh at you. They’ll look down on you. The better ones among them will pat your back and tell you everything is okay. But nothing will make it okay.”

“They. Will kill me if I have failed.” The demon growls, stands up straight in the air, and puffs out its chest. “That. Is the way it should be. Those. Who fail shall have their heads displayed in public. All. Shall be instructed on their failure.”

“That’s dumb.” The half-human turns over and blinks up at the demon. “Don’t you know how many failures it takes to learn something?”

The demon smiles its toothy grin. “One.”

Zarah rolls over in the bed, turning her back to the demon. “Your kind must learn a lot easier than mine.”

The demon huffs. It floats down to the floor, picks up the golden altar, and sets it back on its base. The demon waves its paw over the hole in the alter, and fragment by fragment the gold surface repairs itself.

“Why? Are you here?” The demon leans against the altar and stares at the half-human. “Do. You have nowhere else to be?” It drools and licks its lips. “Have. You truly come here to die?”

The gray cloak wraps around the half-human. “I don’t want to be up there. That’s all.” She sighs. “Leave me alone. Go back to whatever you were doing for a hundred years.”

The demon nods, grins, and takes a light step toward Zarah. The stones at her side roll around on the bed, and the half-human snorts.

“Don’t even try it. I may not be able to kill you, but I can put you through enough pain you’ll wish you could die.”

The demon whines, turns back to its altar, and fades away into the shadows. The drum beat slows to the dull thudding of a heart.
High War - Chapter 25.1
Chapter 25! So I thought this story would be 26 chapters in total, but it looks like it might be about 27 or 28. I guess that's writing for you. Oh look, a demon! I might use that word too much … but I like how it works to create the idea of something evil and powerful. Devil has its own problems. Monsters are evil, but not always powerful. Gods are powerful, but not always evil. Demon fits right in the middle. This demon god is something of a premonition of future events, and also related to much of what has occurred so far. But back to gods. What is this, the 7th god so far if you count demigods, fragment gods, and the prequel chapters? I wonder if anyone knows all of them.

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a fantasy-ish world. I believe my preview image comes from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences; there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for reading, and I'm always happy to discuss the chapter if you have a comment for it.


  • Listening to: Pandora: Electronic Cardio Radio
  • Reading: People Skills
  • Watching: Urusei Yatsura , A Certain Magical Index
  • Playing: Mega Man Star Force 3: Red Joker
  • Eating: less fat and sugar
  • Drinking: more water
In his orc form, Rolf enters the stable. He claps a hand against a support pole for the ceiling, and walks over to a stall holding a black metal construct. The glow from him grows a little, and he traces his fingers along the thing’s back.

The headless body tilts forward, its shoulder and leg joints rotating. The construct shakes and stretches at his touch, then returns to its motionless state when he turns and walks away.

Opening the stall door with wide stairs inside, Rolf starts down. Booming laughter comes from below, and he stops. The shapeshifter licks his lips, forms a thin smile, and continues down the stairs.

Teal is facing away from the parlor entrance. She raises an eyebrow at Lars’ laughter, and continues. “There wasn’t anything else to do, I pulled the trap's switch.” Hilda puts a hand to her mouth, eyes wide, but Teal shakes her head. “Klax was above. I knew Rolf would be fine.”

Lars spots Rolf coming down the stairs, and grins. “If it happens again, Paladin, and there’s no saving him, feel free to eat his body. I’d hate for it to go to waste.” He nudges Hilda. “I’ve been saying, ye should have another. That one is a danger seeker, and who will care for us in a few years?”

“Eat him?” Teal raises the eyebrow higher.

Rolf speaks up behind her. “Lars likes his tasteless jokes.” Teal jumps a little, and turns to glare at him.

Hilda stands from her chair and scurries across the room, lithe despite her size. “Rolf, let me see you.” She envelops him in a hug, then holds him at an arm’s distance. “Where did you get hurt? Did the healer leave any scars?”

“Hilda, I’m fine.” Rolf pats her arms and grins. “And I’m sorry, but I can’t stay for long. I believe Miss Teal wishes to leave as soon as possible.”

“Yes, Rolf, ye should do as Miss Teal asks.” Hilda releases him and bobs her head at the human woman. “She promised to give me an autograph from Olivia Neasta.”

Lars chuckles from his chair. “Why shouldn’t we eat each other? There’s nothing wrong when we’re a different species.”

“I have given thought to that as well.” Sorrow nods. “But First Father explained that being a thinking animal should also be considered. And that some people have the idea that eating a person is disrespectful.”

Lars harrumphs. “It is disrespectful to let their meat go to waste.”

“An autograph?” Rolf smirks at Teal.

She nods at him. “Who is Lungren?” Her voice is hard.

The others are silent, staring at the two. Teal doesn’t look away from Rolf. He smiles back at her, and shrugs.

“My local identity. I use it for various purposes.”

“Then what is Rolf?”

“My given name, Miss Teal.”

He is smiling still. She glances at Hilda. The female shapeshifter has turned around, and scurries back toward her seat beside Lars. Teal frowns.

“Miss Hilda, Mister Lars, do you condone Rolf lying to himself and others?”

Hilda sits with a sigh. “Well … ”

Lars grunts. “All boys go through a phase like that. He’ll lie to his own mother.” He grins at Rolf. “Though ye should act yer age a bit. When ye settle down, having a name in every town causes more problems than help. And it’s well time ye finished selling all those clocks.”

Hilda bobs her head. “Every shapeshifter lies.” She touches her hostess dress, and the turquoise color shifts to a dark maroon. “As ye grow older, ye learn how to lie. Ye also learn when and why ye must tell the truth, and how best to do it.”

“See, Miss Teal?” Rolf grins at her. “I am young at heart.”

She grits her teeth. “Miss Hilda, Mister Lars, your son is lying to himself.” Rolf’s eyes widen as Teal continues. “He refuses to admit that he was hurt by a,” she grimaces, “an intimate encounter with an older woman."

Lars and Hilda stare at Teal. They turn to Rolf, who is shaking, his fists clenched.

“Excuse me.” Sorrow nods to them all. “But my brother wishes to make a comment.” His hand rests on the black warpick, and his face changes to a wide-eyed gasp. “Say whaaat? Wow, um, okay, I don’t think I feel comfortable listening to this conversation, so I’ll be making sounds in my head so I can’t hear it. If you need me, tell my brother.” The hand lifts off the black warpick, and Sorrow nods again. “That is what he wished to say. Resume your conversation, please and thank you.”

Rolf seethes at Teal, “How can ye be so - ”

“Rolf?” The tall man becomes silent when Hilda speaks. “So it’s true?” Her gaze is gentle and warm. “Ye have been playing that mammal game?”

Lars grunts. “I didn’t want to believe it. My always busy son, wasting his time with pointless mammal pursuits.” He shakes his head at Rolf. “Have ye at least gotten paid once or twice for it?”

He turns to them, mouth open. “Ye both knew?”

Hilda sighs and bobs her head. “Ye had a lady caller once, who had tracked ye to our home. We weren’t sure if we should believe her story, but we told her the truth, that we don’t know when ye will next visit. She only came back a few times after that.”

“It’s embarrassing,” Lars grumbles. “I have met the rare shapeshifter family with a son or daughter who uses the mammal game to make a living, but no one talks proudly of them. Even the mammals don’t like to talk about their game.”

Teal stares at the two elder shapeshifters. “Are you not concerned at all? He told me he was only a child at the time, shifted to look like an adult, so the woman did not realize what she was doing. In other words, he was exposed to adult matters at a young age. The effects of that are very serious.”

Lars shakes his head. “What could be serious about a child playing a game?” He turns to his wife. “Hilda, ye know more about the mammals, explain this to me.”

She pats his arm. “Lars, the mammals like to play their game with those of the same age. They use the game among themselves to produce offspring, and like us they would not want to leave a partner to care for a child alone.”

“Is that all?” He grunts, and shrugs. “So Rolf learned the game from this woman, and she thought a child would be formed. It sounds like Rolf tricked her well.”

Teal growls, “And how is his learning the act of creating a child not concerning to you? Rolf was harmed by that exposure.”

“How?” Lars leans back in his chair.

“She is a human, she may not know.” Hilda smiles and bobs her head. “Lars, ye are right, we should have another child before I am too old. Give me yer seed.”

Lars shrugs. His cheek mandibles flip forward and spin around each other, secreting a white substance like spider silk. When he has a large wad of the stuff, Lars sticks the wad half inside his mouth, spinning it to coat the wad with saliva.

He presents the slimy wad to Hilda. She takes it, opens her mouth wide, and wraps the wad in her tongue. Her mandibles fold back inside her mouth, where they begin unspooling the wad.

“And that is it.” Hilda smiles around the bulge in her mouth, her voice coming out a little thick. “That is all there is to it.” She bobs her head at Teal. “Shapeshifters do not make children in secret.”

“I see, Miss Hilda.” Sorrow nods at her. “Father has always been vague in telling me how making children works, so this is a learning experience. Also, accept my congratulations for your new child, please and thank you.”

“Don’t congratulate me yet, dear, that’s bad luck.” The wad in her mouth is soon gone, and Hilda pats her bulbous cheek mandibles. “There could always be a miscarriage, or my body might digest the child by accident.”

The female shapeshifter shrugs, then smiles at Teal. “Since ye brought this up, did ye wish to play the game with Rolf? Ye seem like a nice young woman, maybe if he plays it with ye he will see there is no point to it.”

Teal grunts and turns away. “I don’t - excuse me, but now that Rolf is here we need to leave as soon as possible.” She stands, turns to Rolf, and stares at him for a long moment. “Let’s go.”

He nods. “Return my backpack, Miss Teal.”

She reaches to the other side of her chair, picks up the backpack, and pushes it into his chest. “Go.”

Backing toward the stairs, he leans to one side and grins at the elder shapeshifters. “Lars, Hilda, I don’t know how much Miss Teal has told ye, but ye are right about the danger. Please treat my little sibling well.” He waves at them, shoulders the backpack, and climbs up the stairs.

Teal glances back to them as well. “Thank you for your kind hospitality, Miss Hilda, Mister Lars.” She turns and follows Rolf.

Sorrow starts to stand from his chair, but Hilda holds up a hand for him to stop. He blinks. “Miss Hilda, I have been told to follow Miss Teal where she goes. She is now leaving, and so I must follow her.”

She tilts her head to the side, and turns her ear to the stairs. “That’s fine, dear. But give them a moment.”

Lars grunts. “Young people.”

Upstairs in the stable, Teal leans against a support pole, and Rolf walks over to a stall. He glances down at the construct inside, moves to the next stall, checks the construct, and opens the stall door. His finger taps the shoulder, and the construct shakes to life and walks forward out of the stall.

“Are these things fast?” Teal stands behind him, her eyes on the wall.

Rolf takes a leather bundle from his backpack and crouches. “They can be.” He unwraps the bundle, lays it out on the ground, and selects a metal tool from a variety inside. “I am changing the gear settings, from manual labor to distance travel.” Leaning closer to the construct, he reaches below and fits the tool into the belly.

Teal nods. She walks over to another stall and studies the construct inside. “They look quite complicated. How did you learn to make them?”

“Miss Teal, telling my parents something I confided to ye was very rude.”

“I know, Rolf.” She stares down at the ground. “But I would do it again. The results were not what I expected, but the reason remains serious.”

He shakes his head. “Ye heard my parents. Sex is a game. There is nothing to be won or lost for us.” Turning, he smirks at her. “So why not? When this is all over, why not play with me, just once?” He turns back to the construct. “Then I will leave, as ye wish.”

Teal hangs her head. “Rolf.” She shakes and sighs. “That’s not … ” Her arms pull up to hug her chest. “That’s not what anyone wants.”

Rolf stops and turns to stare at her. He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out until he turns back to the construct.

“I built the first of these horse machines after a dream. The rest came later, from careful study of what I had made.” He sighs, stands, and moves to another stall. “When I sleep under the sun, I see things I have never seen before. And if I pick up tools when I wake, I can build them, without really knowing how. My crossbow was the first thing I built in this way.”

He points back at the previous stall. “Miss Teal, ye should practice riding it. Place yer hands anywhere on the back, and think what ye want it to do.” At his touch a second construct exits the stall, and he begins working on it.

She sets her hand on the machine’s shoulder. The construct takes a step towards Rolf, shakes, and steps backward to kneel down. Teal climbs onto its back, and the construct stands tall to walk out the stable door.
High War - Chapter 24.3
And that's the end of that chapter. I'd been wanting pretty badly to write that “shapeshifter procreation” scene for a while now, in fact I thought it would be Rolf and Reina but I couldn't wait. Here's what it means: shapeshifters have no sex drive. They like companionship, they feel comfort from touching the arm of someone they love, but they have no desire to “bump uglies” because they have no uglies to bump, just sex organs in their mandibles. I don't even know why they wear a loincloth, other than some sense of “the mammals do it.” And that's why their culture is based in part around arranged marriages; rather than a biological drive to pair off and create the next generation, they have a cultural drive. They didn't evolve as a species, they were created in a magical lab, and that aspect of their culture was taught to them as something all important. I think it's amusing. Anyway, next we're going back to the Army fort for the decisive battle, and to see how Zarah is doing after, um, certain events from the previous chapter. And so … there might be three more chapters and a prologue? I'd really like to finish this novel by the end of the year, but it might go a few weeks into January.

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a fantasy-ish world. I believe my preview image comes from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences; there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for reading, and I'm always happy to discuss the chapter if you have a comment for it.


Beneath the boughs of large trees, within the swinging chains of a Rift Circle platform, three people form one by one in swirls of purple dust. In tan leather armor and carrying a black warpick, Sorrow has the wiry frame of a teenager. Rolf is a tall man in a brown coat, with a crossbow at his hip and a large pack on his back. And Teal wears her heavy bark armor, with her maul handle hanging at her side. Their eyes are dull for a breath, then spark to life.

The halos of light sink into the platform, and a voice calls out, “All clear, thank you!”

Teal scowls and steps out of the circle first. “What could she mean?”

Walking beside her, Rolf shrugs. “It explains some things. Ye are my type, but I did wonder why I felt so strongly for ye in such a short time.”

“I’m not talking about that,” Teal growls. “Why do we have these Hearts? What else do they do? And how could they be connected to the fate of the world?”

“It is prophecy, Miss Teal.” Rolf smiles at the ground. “Why ever we were given them, and who ever did so. It may all be a mistake.”

Teal stares forward. “Yes, but I,” she becomes silent, taking in the land around.

They stand near a muddy red lake. In the distance far away all around them, the earth curves up to a sharp lip against the horizon. A city surrounds them, in a large valley shaped like a bowl, with the city edges climbing up the sides.

Instead of streets, muddy paths and trails crisscross through the city like tangled ivy vines. Everywhere the trees support buildings, or the buildings are built around trees. The shops and taverns are open-air gardens, the homes are all greenhouses, and flowers bloom around them in a paradise of color.

The people of the city glance at the three arrivals, who stare back at them. The humans and Small Folk passing by have flowering vines growing in their dirty hair, while the orcs show patches of green skin.

Teal scowls up at the rim of the earth bowl. “I have never before considered how much Panoramio looks like someone dug up a mountain of dirt and took it somewhere.”

Rolf nods, staring around at the city. “The contract did not say where the earth mote would be taken from. I assumed the top of a mountain.” He bends down and touches the dirt below them. “Mages of this city know that some powerful magic left behind the unique latent ether found in the soil. But I do not understand why spillover float magic would cause plants to grow well.”

Frowning, he glances up at her. “Miss Teal, I know ye are in a hurry, but I would like to question a few researchers I know in this city. I believe doing so could help understand the Phoenix Army’s earth mote. Will ye wait for me?”

She nods. “If it doesn’t take long. I will keep your conversations brisk, and we can get those horses you mentioned along the way.”

“Actually, um.” Rolf stands and forces a smile. “I should go alone, Miss Teal.” He makes a small laugh and shrugs. “The people I will be talking to may be less willing to share their research if there are other people with me.”

Teal stares hard at him. “What does that mean?”

“Nothing bad.” He smiles, but she does not look away. Rolf sighs. “Please consider the type of mage who would research magical soil, Miss Teal. Ye would make them nervous.”

She scowls. “Oh. Then I will find us horses, and we will - ”

Rolf shakes his head. “I can provide our transportation, so that will be the last thing to get. Although.” He is silent for a moment. “If ye would go ask to have them reserved, that would help us leave faster.”

Turning, he points down one of the paths through town. “Go straight that way for about three crossings, and ask for Lungren’s Beasts of Burden. Lars can reserve three for ye, simply tell him I sent ye.”

Teal remains frowning, but nods. Rolf smiles and bows his head to her. He pulls his coat tighter around himself, and turns the large pack on his back to shield his face from the crowds. His body shifts to an orc, with patches of green skin that frame his eyes and highlight his chin.

“Then I will meet ye there, Miss Teal.”

“Will you?” She stares at him, her mouth a thin line. “After what you said - Well, I don’t care, but do you plan on disappearing now?”

Rolf blinks. “What I said? Oh, that.” He nods, and grins at her. “Miss Teal, does my decision bother ye? If ye feel as ye say, ye should not care that I will no longer pursue ye.”

Teal snorts under her breath and looks away. “I don’t care in the slightest if you leave. I’m only wondering if you plan to show up. I do not have time to wait for you.”

“No, I wish to protect this land as much as ye do. And doing so at yer side seems best, even if we disagree on the means.” He smirks. “Besides, we are tied by fate. Perhaps we shall part ways when this is done, but that will not happen today.”

She tsks, and looks into his eyes again. They stare at each other, until Teal looks away. “Give me your backpack. That way I know you’ll return for it.”

He frowns and licks his lips. “That is a,” then he stops, smiles, and reaches back. “Acceptable.” Rolf unshoulders his backpack and holds it out. “I will feel safe knowing it is in yer hands.”

Teal takes the pack, blinks, and hefts it in one hand. “It is light.”

Rolf nods, reaches into one of the side pockets, and retrieves a thin notebook. He waves it at her and walks away. His brown cloak swirls around him and the tall orc disappears into the crowds.

Teal and Sorrow walk through the front doors of what appears to be a stable. The ground is all compacted dirt, and much of the space is taken up by horse stalls. Horse equipment, from dainty riding saddles to heavy-duty work harnesses, hang from the ceiling support posts and the walls.

None of the stalls hold horses. Instead, constructs of black steel stand motionless within some. They have four legs and a long, horse-like body, but no head beyond the muscular shoulders. Their backs are flat, with one thinner section in the middle.

Sorrow approaches the nearest stall and peeks inside. Standing by the door, Teal calls out, “Sorrow, be careful.” She stares around the room.

He nods, but does not back away. “Miss Teal, these creatures appear to be dead.”

She waves a hand at him. “You don’t know that. Until someone tells you what might set it off, take care around it.” She spots a chain of bells hanging by the door, and reaches out to set them ringing. Then she grimaces. “Do I really mother you?”

Sorrow looks back at her. “I do not know. You do not act like my mom, so there is no direct comparison.” He tilts his head to the side. “However, you do act like my dad, but never to me.” Then his eyes flash, and Sorrow nods. “Yes, brother. But we cannot return to them yet. Mister Klax has promised to help.”

A stall door creaks open, and a potbellied male orc enters the stable from a staircase descending into the ground. His body is almost covered in green splotches, and a few distinguished gray whiskers grow from his upper lip.

“Hello, customers!” He smiles, and wipes his hands on the apron hanging from his neck. “How may I help ye?”

Teal steps forward and bows her head. “Hello, sir. I am Paladin Teal, on a mission of the utmost importance. Someone you may know, Rolf, said I should come to this stable and reserve three of your.” She blinks, and glances at the things in the stalls. “Your rides.”

“Rolf did?” The orc stares at the human woman, and to the gray-skinned teen. “Are ye friends of his?”

Sorrow nods. “He once woke me when I was knocked unconscious by the Monster. Then we traveled together a great distance to reach here, with some stops and separations between. I have not had any deep conversations with him as First Father recommends, nor sparred as Second Father recommends, but he is more than an acquaintance.”

The orc licks his lips. “Yes, that is fine to hear. But are ye his good friends? I suppose he would not send ye if not, but still.” The orc’s eyes brighten. “Is he here? In the city?”

“Indeed, sir.” Teal frowns, and glances for a moment back at the door. “He said he would meet us here, after doing some information gathering elsewhere in the city.” She holds up the large backpack. “And I have this, as assurance that he will come. Now, can we make those reservations?”

“Yes, of course! Ye said three? We should discuss the details.” The orc smiles, and gestures toward the stairs leading down into the ground. “Come into my parlor.” He scurries back down the stairs.

Teal frowns. Then she shrugs and follows the orc man down. Sorrow walks a few steps behind her.

Below the stable is a cozy burrow. Woven grass mats cover the floor, and wall hangings of various natural landscapes bring color to the room. Several couches and wide chairs with grass seat cushions are an eclectic mix of brown hues. A single lantern hangs from the ceiling, and the orc lights it with a twist of the nob.

“Please make yerselves comfortable,” and he gestures for the chairs. “I’ll go ask the wife to put on some tea.” The orc disappears down a dark corridor.

Teal starts to call out, “We must leave as soon,” then trails off with a frown. She sits in the nearest chair and sighs. “Though we are waiting for Rolf.”

Sorrow stands, staring down at one of the couches. Teal looks at him. “Go ahead, Sorrow, you were invited to sit.”

He nods. “Our host said to become comfortable, and I understand the social meaning. But I do not know the feeling of comfort, so I cannot do as suggested.” He sits, and folds his hands in his lap. “That is what I was thinking about.”

Teal raises an eyebrow. “Are all Shadefolk like you, Sorrow?”

“No, Miss Teal. I am considered very strange for a Shade.” His eyes flash, and Sorrow nods. “Actually, brother, you are normal for a Shade.” He blinks. “In fact, you might be able to survive on Shade. Perhaps we can go home now.”

“Who are you talking to?”

Sorrow nods. “I was speaking to my twin brother whom you met, Miss Teal. It seems he is within this weapon I found.”

“Oh.” She smiles at him. “You mentioned your mother earlier.” Teal leans forward in her chair. “What is she like?”

“I look like her physically, Miss Teal. That is why I was given my name. And because I was a constant source of tears for her.”

Teal frowns. “I can’t imagine you misbehaving.”

“No, I made my mom cry because my life was in danger. I also made my dad angry because there was nothing he could do to help me. Those emotions kept them protected from the plane’s miasma, and so I was considered a very good son.”

“I see. And then Doctor White cured you.”

Sorrow blinks, and shakes his head. “Doctor White came to try and cure me, but he could not, so he invited me to this plane where my life is not in danger. This was also good for my parents. Doctor White could not gain their permission but took me anyway, causing my mom to cry and my dad is be angry. Or so I believe.”

“That sounds like,” Teal sighs and shakes her head. “Shade is a strange place.”

The teen shrugs. “I do not know, Miss Teal.”

An orc woman scurries into the room. Green splotches dot her neck and cheeks, with a curving stripe over her eyes. “Greetings, customers.” The orc wears a turquoise hostess dress. Clasping her hands in front of her, she bobs her head. “My name is Hilda. My husband Lars says ye wish to rent three of our son’s constructs?”

Teal nods. She stands and bows to the orc woman. “We would, please. We are on a mission of the utmost importance. A man named Rolf said you have the best transportation available, and as soon as he can join us, we must leave.”

Hilda smiles. “Ah, the hurry of youth.” She sits in one of the chairs. “Would ye mind telling me about this mission?”

Sitting again, Teal frowns. “I am not sure if I can, ma’am. It involves the current strife in this country, and may be considered classified information by my superiors. Do you know of the Phoenix Army?”

The orc woman bobs her head. “Not everything perhaps. News of the outside world rarely filters into Panoramio. But we have heard of the tragedy in Goldenburg and the capital closing down.”

Teal nods. “We are working to resolve these problems. To do that, we must reach Foe Hall, but the Rift Circle there is not operating.”

“I see, I see.” The orc woman licks her lips. “And so Rolf told ye to come here. He is correct, my son’s constructs can get ye through the mountain pass quicker than most beasts.”

“Ma’am, if I may ask.” Teal stares at the orc woman. “What is your son’s name?”

Hilda smiles. “Lungren.”

Teal’s eyes narrow. “Not Rolf?”

The orc woman blinks, and places her hands on her knees. “What did Rolf tell ye?”

Sorrow tilts his head to the side. “Despite speaking very often, Mister Rolf says very little. But I believe Miss Teal is asking if you are a white skin, like Rolf.”

Teal turns to the teen. “I was not. He could be adopted.”

“Oh. That is true, Miss Teal.” Sorrow nods to the orc woman. “Accept my apologies, please and thank you.”

The orc man emerges from the dark hallway, a tray with three teacups in his hand. “The tea is ready, customers.” Lars takes the cup closest to his hand, and offers Teal the tray. Two lime-green teacups remain.

Hilda takes the tray with the teacups from him. “Lars, don’t use the cheap cups.” She scurries off toward the hallway. “I’ll be right back.”

Lars stares after her. “But, that was.” He frowns, then turns to smile at his two guests. “I am sorry, my wife can be silly about these things.” The orc man takes a seat and sips at his cup.

“Yes, well.” Teal coughs and looks away. “Poison doesn’t work very well on me anyway.”

The orc man gulps. “Poison?” His green splotches waver with a whiter tone.

Teal sighs. “Rolf is your son, correct? He looked like you when he left us. And he never mentioned Lungren, other than as the name of this place. But he mentioned you, Mister Lars. Also, I got the impression Miss Hilda was talking about Rolf when she spoke of her son.”

She points down the hallway. “Sorrow had just asked the question I thought might be rude to say out loud, when you came back with the tea. Miss Hilda took it away, presumably because she no longer believed I might be hunting you, like Rolf thought when I first met him. I assume the tea had some kind of poison, non-lethal I hope.”

Lars chuckles. “Paladin, that is many assumptions.” He sits up straighter, as his body shifts to become large and paper-white. The insectoid frame fits snug in the wide chair, and the apron becomes a pair of large suspenders. “But ye must know how yer kind will target ours.”

“There hasn’t been a mass shapeshifter hunt in my lifetime.” Teal grunts and looks away. “But I admit it is the occasional duty of paladins to hunt down shapeshifters using their natural magic for ill.” She stares back at him. “The same as for any mage misusing their magic.”

Hilda walks back into the room and bobs her head. “I'm sorry, the tea went cold.” Out of the small hallway, her body expands to twice its previous size, though the turquoise hostess dress remains. She sits in a chair beside Lars and reaches out to take his hand. “So, what has Rolf been doing? Ye know he never visits us.”
High War - Chapter 24.2
And then they spend the next hour talking about Rolf. Hey, Rolf has parents! Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly. If you read the prequel stories, you might remember Lars and Hilda, though they are a bit older and larger now. Shapeshifters continue getting larger as they grow older, which means you won't see many Small Folk who happen to be ancient shapeshifters, unless the shapeshifter happens to be very small for their age. Eventually they look quite a lot like their umber hulk ancestors, but with all the cunning and skills of their doppleganger ancestors.

This is a part of my High War project, a story set in a fantasy-ish world. I believe my preview image comes from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences; there will be occasional violence, language, and adult themes. Thanks for reading, and I'm always happy to discuss the chapter if you have a comment for it.


  • Listening to: Pandora: Electronic Cardio Radio
  • Reading: People Skills
  • Watching: Urusei Yatsura , A Certain Magical Index
  • Playing: Mega Man Star Force 3: Red Joker
  • Eating: less fat and sugar
  • Drinking: more water


Ian Chisholm
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Favorite Quote: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

I'm here to tell my stories; I love Anime and I'm aiming at a career writing animation scripts, but for now I'm a writer-in-training creating worlds and characters and telling stories with them for my amusement. I'm also searching for a visual artist to collaborate with; if you read something here that inspires you and you can make dem perdy picture things, I would be interested in enlisting you for a creative partnership with the goal of collaborating on something awesome. And I'm here to learn; I want advice on how I can improve, I gladly work with, co-author or even take on requests to sharpen my writing skills, and if you'd like a critique or some proofreading you only have to ask.

I upload something new every week, either part of an ongoing story I am writing, or something more random like a character piece or personal opinion paper. I also try to do prose critiques every week, and I write webcomic reviews semi-regularly for my Journal section and collect them in archived compilations of ten. Occasionally I look back at something I have uploaded to DA (at minimum a year old) in the hopes that I can glean something useful from it, and when I'm bored I hang out in the Philosophy forum. Of course the busier my life gets, the less of all that I do.

My 2015 avatar is me, writing down by the lake! Of course you can't see much of me, especially not the sweet hat I'm wearing, and this image is from forever ago, like high school or something, and I'm writing data findings on the water for science, some project my Grandpa gave me to help his fishing club ... but it's me!

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hanzkidz2 Featured By Owner 1 hour ago
While I was busy browsing through videos on youtube I found video giving an interesting idea for making half-elf characters!

Can you please take a look?…
ChoFerry Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2015  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the fav!! *o*
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Codemaster9999 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2015
Thank you for the Llama brigade badge.
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Acillus Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2015  Student General Artist
Hi again! Thanks for the :+fav: on Banishment of Lucifer – Digital Sketch! :D

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hlwar Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2015
Wow, thank you kindly for stopping by and taking the time to look over my gallery! I truly appreciate the +fav. :la:

And: Thanks For The Llama Emote 
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