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Aranka

evtr - red witch story

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I corrected the previous part in green again, and this is the new part ;) comments are very welcome, that way i can correct :D

 

greetings, Aranka.

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Akane woke by the smell of grilled meat and spicy herbs. The smell hung in the whole tavern, as the innkeeper was busy cooking a rather fine meal. Akane stretched her legs and turned around a few times before she climbed out of bed. As she was about to dress herself, she noticed the stains on her clothes and the stale smell they gave off.

“I’ve been wearing this for quite some time now…” she murmured to herself, realising she had no spare clothes with her she could wear while washing her red dress.

A bit uncomfortable with her appearance, Akane walked downstairs and made her way to the dining room of the tavern. To her amazement, the innkeeper had prepared a whole table of fine cheeses, meat and several sorts of bread for breakfast.

 

“Ah you woke miss? I hope we didn’t make too much noise last night.” said the innkeeper in her heavy manner, while she wobbled out of the kitchen and tried to grin kindly at Akane; yet her face pulled a rather strange grimace.

“So new guests arrived yesterday?” asked Akane curiously.

“Oh yes miss, Souma and her crew arrived yesterday night. Very fine people, miss. In fact I’m sure they can provide you some new clothes, your dress does look as if it could use a nice cleaning, if I may say so.”

“Yes you are right about that…” said Akane ashamed.

“Now don’t you worry about it, I’ll make sure Souma gets you some new clothes, she just returned from a trading mission in Idaloran you know. She does all sorts of jobs with her boat…. Lovely girl, our Souma….

Now what’s your name miss, if I may ask?”

“Akane.” she said softly.

“Ah well, if you need me you can just call me. Oh, and when you see Souma, you may want to tell her Zoran was here a few days ago, huh? They're old friends, and i'm sure she will be happy to stay around and see him again after all this time... I’ll be in the kitchen for now.” said Dina, the innkeeper, clearly more energized and friendly since Souma’s arrival.

 

A bit helpless and suprised Akane stood still for a few moments, but then decided to go out and see if she could find a good bathing spot. After walking aside the riverbed for a few moments, avoiding the thorny bushes, she saw a vague figure in the distance, sitting on a rock between some low bushes. Akane approached and saw that the tall woman sitting there, was combing her long black hair and stared back at Akane, smiling.

 

“Hi.” she said, softly grinning and trying to hide the amused expression on her face, now seeing who they had woken the other night, “I am Souma. I just arrived here last night. You must be Dina’s guest?”

Akane was a bit confused, and replied hesitatingly:

“Y – yes. My name is Akane.”

“I'm sorry we were a bit noisy yesterday.” said Souma gently.

“Don't worry about it.” Akane replied, more at ease, “ Ehm… Dina asked me to tell you Zoran was here a few days ago...."

Another smile curled around Souma's lips as she thought of how nice it would be to see her old friend again.

“Ah yes, Zoran. I used to do business with him alot when Palon Vertas had a more blooming commerce... But the past few years we had more demand elsewhere and Palon Vertas seemed to have grown emptier and emptier. I wonder how he is now though...”

I wonder too... thought Akane.

"Souma, can I ask you something? Do you by any chance have a set of spare clothes i could borrow? They would come in handy while I wash these and bathe...."

"Well..." said Souma hesitating, "I guess I can help you out, I still have some robes left on the ship.... Yes I think I have some nice things there for you." Souma smiled as she saw the muddy hem of Akane's dress, and wondered how anyone could wait that long to look for new clothes.

"Thank you, Souma. I will make it up to you."

"You're a friend of Zoran, I'll be happy to help you out. I will leave the clothes on this rock for you."

Before Akane could say anything, Souma ran off with an elegant leap, her long black hair fluttering behind her.

 

As her body touched the cool but pleasant streaming water of the Vormus river, Akane closed her ruby red eyes. She let her head sink under the light blue water and heard how her heart was peacefully resonating in her ears. Akane tried to clear her mind after her bad night’s sleep, but it seemed the harder she tried to let go of her worries, the heavier they clung to her.

 

A whole week…

You could be anywhere in the world and I am still here, waiting… like an idiot….

Waiting for you…

 

Where are you, Zoran?

Edited by Aranka

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and another part ;) please feel free to comment :D

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Zoran felt a great relief when he could discern some lanterns that stood around the tavern and lit it up from a distance. The idea of returning to a civilized place where these incomprehensible adventures didn’t seem to exist, gave him strength. He quickened his pace although his knee caused him a lot of pain.

Zoran walked with a limp towards the entrance door, and as he came closer he could almost feel the warmth of its cosy rooms, almost taste the great stew Dina always makes, almost smell Akane’s perfume when she came near him….

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Akane turned her head quickly and dropped her fork on her plate as she saw how Souma’s mouth dropped wide open and her blue-green eyes focussed on the entrance door, loudly creaking.

 

“Good gods, boy! What happened to you?” Dina cried.

In sheer amazement, Akane froze as she saw that Zoran had returned, holding a torn leather bag in his hands. His face and clothes were stained with mud and dirt, and parts of his shirt were torn from scraping against branches in the forest. His face however, made a poorly revealed grin as he saw the look on Akane’s face.

 

The two men from Souma’s crew, Suraj and Yevhen, rose from the table and walked towards Zoran to greet their old friend.

“Well well, Souma.” said Zoran, widely smiling, “I had no idea you were in town! Long time no see, isn’t it?”

“You’re quite right about that Zoran, although I didn’t wish for you to go through so much trouble just to see me, you know.” she replied with a grin around her lips and a friendly twinkle in her eyes, referring to the state Zoran was in.

“If I see what adventures you risk your neck for, I am glad I switched businesses quite a while ago…” Souma continued, winking at Suraj and Yevhen, who burst into a laugh and helped Zoran further in.

“I am only joking, Zoran…” Souma added to her last comment, “it’s always nice to finally see an old friend again.”

 

All this time Akane had remained silent, giving her mind the time to realise what happened.

Zoran sat down at the table, and Dina rushed back into the kitchen to fetch him a plate of the stew she had prepared.

 

“I-I’m glad you came back Zoran.” she said softly, with her head turned down, as Zoran sat in front of her.

“As am I, Akane….as am I….” he replied, gently smiling at her.

“You missed him, didn’t you?” grinned Yevhen, seated next to Zoran.

Akane’s head turned red, and her heart leapt into her throat as she grew nervous.

“But you missed our Zoran too, now didn’t you, Yevhen?” she heard Souma say in a provocative way, and Suraj almost spit his water back out as he was trying not to laugh. The rest of them were loudly laughing, including Yevhen, who gave Souma a soft punch on the shoulder.

 

The evening grew late, and Dina made clear that everyone should get themselves a nice night’s rest. As Zoran tried to get up as well, Akane made a sign he should stay a bit longer and said:

“Wait a moment please, let me help you a bit.”

She went to her room, and a few moments later she returned with a small pot of herb paste she had mixed together, and a piece of old fabric. Zoran smiled at her and didn’t regret for a moment he had gone through all this trouble. Akane tended his knee with the herb paste and the towel, and helped him to get upstairs.

 

“Akane, thank you very much.” Zoran said softly.

“Go rest a bit, please. We can talk tomorrow. With the herbs, your knee should get alot better these next few days.” Akane replied quickly, not allowing Zoran to say anything more. Zoran after her, his eyes wandering from her fiery red hair to the dark ruby tunic she wore.

Oh so beautiful….

Edited by Aranka

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Ok, sorry I didn't reply sooner...oh well, you only reply once every few months yourself ;p

 

Here's more critiques!

 

 

Oh, and when you see Souma, tell her that Dina said she would fix you some clothes, huh

 

This sounds like Dina is giving her the clothes, but it is Souma who is, correct?

 

 

“Hi.” she said, softly grinning and trying to hide the amused expression on her face

 

Why is she amused?

 

 

As her body touched the cool but pleasantly streaming water

 

I think it should be:

As her body touched the cool but pleasant streaming water

 

 

Oh but yes of course! I just came back from a trading job in Idaloran last night, just a few days away with my little ship.

 

Who exactly is this person, Souma? "little ship" here she sounds like she's being sarcastic with a snobbish-elitist tone in her voice. You really need to explain more of her character. Is she a warrior? A noblewoman? what?

 

 

 

 

One thing, in the first part here, that I find a bit silly is that the secondary characters-Dina & Souma-are coincidentally knowing exactly what Akane wants(clothes, a bath).

Also

 

 

“I-I’m glad you came back Zoran.” she said softly, with her head turned away, as Zoran sat in front of her.

 

If he's sitting in front of her that means her head is to either side-which seems silly. Perhaps her head is down? or she is just not making eye contact?

 

 

 

“You missed him, didn’t you?” grinned Yevhen, seated next to Zoran.

 

Wouldn't their first thoughts be, "you know each other?"

 

 

“Wait a moment please, let me help you a bit.”

She went into the kitchen

This tavern/inn is really quite homey-and a bit out of the ordinary. The inn keeper acts more like a relative to a stranger like Akane..and Akane just walks right into the kitchen like it's her place :)

You really should try explaining this stuff a bit more.

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I do appreciate your comments alot, as they are often things i didn't think of myself that still need changing and improving.

 

To make your critiques 'fit' in the story, I changed some things starting from 3 posts ago (so it would be more consistent as you pointed out; and less of those coincidental solutions provided by the side characters.)

 

 

here is another part, i highly appreciate all the critiques :icon13:

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

The bright sun gave a warm feel to the dark clothes Zoran was wearing, softly spreading throughout his body, which made him feel lazy and relaxed.

“Well Akane… I know I haven’t been away for too long but there are some things I would like to talk to you about… Importa-”

Akane stared at Zoran in big disbelief, tightly holding the little wooden bench they sat on.

“What do you mean? Not that long? ” she interrupted him, clearly excited by the matter, “You were gone for 8 whole days!!”

“I’m sorry?” he replied, not believing what he had just heard, his eyes somewhat squinting together.

“You had me worried sick!” she yelled in the heat of the moment; not knowing whether she was angry with him for staying away so long without a warning, or happy as he had finally returned.

“Good gods…” he murmured, a bit nervous and struck with awe. His eyes wandered off to his hands, which he observed carefully, as if he had suddenly gained years and they had wrinkled.

Akane felt sorry the instant she had raised her voice at Zoran, and with a sad face she turned towards him and said:

“I’m so sorry, I really didn’t mean to be shout at you like that…”

“It’s ok…” he replied with a soft smile, “But I swear I was only gone for about a day, Akane… I don’t know how this is possible… I just can’t….I don’t know…

I can’t understand it myself…”

 

Akane looked at him with regret, because she saw an honest look in his eyes; knowing that he hadn’t lied to her.

“But where have you been then? I can’t think of any places that have a distortion of time or contain such powerful magic.” Akane asked him curiously.

Zoran looked away from her as he hesitated to tell her where he had gone and what he had stolen. Akane could discern a hint of shame as he turned his head from her and the expression in his gray-blue eyes faintly changed.

 

Zoran told Akane about the small storage house the magic school had, not too far from where they were, and how he had managed to break into it and steal some of the crowns that were there. Akane was surprised, for she had never heard of the storage place before, and had no idea of the powerful magic that was locked inside it.

 

“Without doubt, that is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard…” Akane said amazed, “and reckless! Imagine what could have happened!”

Zoran grinned and replied:

“But think of all the things that suddenly become possible when these crowns get sold. I estimate there will be enough money to buy you a house and food supplies for the rest of your life… It can widely compensate for the mess I’ve made in your life, and in mine…”

Akane was a bit startled at first, ignorant of the price that people were willing to pay to get their hands on a crown of life, but soon began to dream away with the thought of a nice quiet life in a different region of Irillion. A small garden and a cosy wooden house, close to a village center with friendly people…

 

“I knew you’d be happy. If you don’t mind I’ll go back inside and rest a bit… I’ll rejoin you again later this afternoon, but at the moment I am still tired and my knee could use some rest too.” said Zoran relieved, as he saw her daydreaming with a vague smile on her face, and gave her a tight hug after which he walked back to the tavern, which was only a moment of walking away.

 

Akane laid down on the wooden bench, and spent the rest of her afternoon dozing in the sun, with her new, fresh clothes on; now and then humming the melody of a song she had learned as a child, but of which she had forgotten the lyrics long ago.

Edited by Aranka

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Ok those edits make things sound better now :icon13:

 

Only one crit on the new part:

"his eyes somewhat squeezed together. "

 

I think you mean squinting? squeezed together really sounds odd. I'd just remove this part, sounds better without.

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ok thanks :)

Edited by Aranka

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Here's another part; comments are very welcome!

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Zoran spent a few days resting, but also thinking on what was to happen next; for he knew he didn’t feel like staying in Palon Vertas any longer than was needed, after what he had been through.

When he was alone, trying to rest, Zoran could hear the voice echoing in his head; not constantly, but when it did he felt a strange shiver running down his body, squeezing his heart together, reminding him of his crime.

Ask yourself stranger…

 

 

.:~*~:.

Zoran walked downstairs and saw Souma sitting at one of the wooden tables in the tavern, eating some bread with cheese on it. His head was still a bit weary as he didn’t get a good night’s sleep and it was still early in the morning. There was a candle lit on Souma’s table, and some oil lamps on the counter, which brightened the room up only a little, with a faint glow of orange light.

 

As Zoran sat in front of Souma, he could see how she smiled, but her eyes were questioning him.

“You’re up early…”

“Yes I have trouble resting properly lately… But you’re up early yourself too.”

Souma grinned and nodded softly.

“Being in Palon Vertas again after all these years reminds me of what it used to be like… Adventurous, exciting… There was a whole world to discover back then… and now that I’m older, I find it harder to stay in the same places… I try to find the old Palon Vertas back, but it looks like its gone forever…” said Souma, smiling in sad way. Zoran was caught off guard; this was not something he had expected of Souma, this kind of nostalgia…

“Seeing Palon Vertas as it is now has made me restless…”

“I always thought you were happy to get away from here Souma… seek for bigger adventures elsewhere….” replied Zoran.

“And I ended up doing ship transports hehe…” she said laughing, “Well it’s just this nostalgic whim; don’t worry about it. As soon as I am on the water again it’ll go away and I’ll feel better.”

Zoran smiled at Souma, but at the same time felt guilty for what he was about to ask her.

 

“Souma… there’s a favour I need from you really…”

“What is it?” Souma asked curiously.

“I need transport out of Palon Vertas; I got myself into awkward position here and it would be best if I disappeared for a while… there’s a possibility Akane will come along too…” he said uncomfortably.

“Wait a minute… what is it exactly that you did?”

Zoran hesitated to reply, and wondered if it was wise to tell Souma the whole story.

 

“I eh… I got 3 crowns off the magic school that need to be sold, Palon Vertas would be way too risky… I was thinking along the lines of Aeth Aelfan?”

“For Aluwen’s sake! This must be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever done! Are you seriously thinking you can get away with this? Stealing enchanted crowns off the mages?!?” she hissed at Zoran.

“Please Souma… you must help me… I only did it as a way of repenting for all the trouble I got Akane in. And when I’m able to sell the crowns, I’ll never have to lead this sort of life again…” Zoran explained.

Souma ran her fingers trough her hair and kept a stern expression on her face; her eyes were hard and somewhat cold.

“I will help you get to Aeth Aelfan, Zoran, but realise you are bringing the lives of my crew and myself in danger with your crazy plans… You are going to have to pay us, pay us well….” she said severely.

“Name your price, Souma…”

“I want 2000 gold coins in advance… and 15 percent of what you get from selling the crowns…. And realise, Zoran, that I am really being nice here…” she replied.

“I will get you the money soon, Souma. The gods bless you for your kindness.” Zoran replied, happy with the thought that soon he would have a whole new life… all he had to take care of now was getting 2000 gold coins for Souma, and then his real life would begin.

Edited by Aranka

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all comments are welcome :whistle:

 

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

The past few days Zoran’s jumpy reactions had not gone unnoticed by Akane. He looked tired and somewhat pale for his condition, as the exhaustion from that odd adventure ought to have worn off by now. Although Zoran spent many moments with her, talked about his past, and how he had lived of thievery all this time, Akane could tell by his eyes that there was something wrong…

She didn’t find the courage to ask what spooked his mind yet, however. Day after day it became more obvious to her; Zoran had a hard time pretending nothing was bothering him.

Slowly Akane realised that the events that occurred had a strange, somewhat depressing effect on the people that surrounded her. Since yesterday Souma was not the cheerful person Akane knew when he she met her. Suraj and Yevhen sometimes grew quiet at the dinner table; only Dina seemed to notice none of it and continued her daily chores as usual.

 

Akane walked outside; the wind blew her hair backwards and despite the gray weather she felt a sort of peace in going outside. Wandering around in a slow yet equal pace helped to clear her mind; concentrating on the rhythm silenced her thoughts.

 

Sitting at a small table near one of the windows, Zoran had seen Akane go outside and decided it was now or never. He would share his mistrust and uneasiness with her, as he could not bear it much longer. He walked outside and waited for about an hour or two, not far from the tavern, on a little wooden bench. It seemed like an eternity had passed during that time.

As he closed his eyes and buried his face in his hands, his elbow leaning on his legs, he recalled so many memories and felt more than ever that he had failed on so many people…. failed his life too…

 

“Hi there!” he heard Akane’s warm voice say and saw that she sat next to him, watching him in a caring way, “Is everything alright?”

“Akane…” he replied a bit uneasy, “You really caught me off guard there…”

“I did, didn’t I?” a warm smile curled around her lips, but her eyes were asking the questions she was afraid to ask….

What has been going on these last days Zoran?...

Why is it that you sleep so much and yet your body is still craving for more rest…

What is it that you are so afraid to tell me that you seem to wear a mask before me to hide it?...

 

“Do you feel better yet?” she asked, softly touching his cheeks and forehead with her hand to see if he was feverish.

Zoran sighed deeply and closed his eyes as he gave a little kiss on Akane’s hand whilst it stroke by his cheek.

“I’m not sure how I feel really, it’s complex… I can’t really determine what exactly causes me to feel so strange…”

“Your face is cold Zoran, you didn’t have to wait outside for me that long…. I would’ve come inside sooner or later you know.” Akane said smiling, but a somewhat sad tone in her voice showed how Zoran’s words didn’t go unheard.

Zoran looked down and a small grin appeared; some of his long black hair fell across his face although it was always bound together.

“I guess you could say I feel… uneasy…. Just by being here… in this place… under these circumstances….”

“After what happened…” Akane added softly, staring in front of her.

“I can’t stay here Akane… It reminds me of how poorly I lived my life all these years… what a failure I am…” he explained, looking at the grass to hide his eyes from her.

“I see…”

“I talked to Souma and she agreed to take me and my belongings as far as Aeth Aelfan, for a decent price… Please understand, but I cannot stay here… I cannot live like this anymore…”.

Zoran looked into Akane’s eyes and saw how they contradicted the expression on her face, trying not to give away any emotions.

“The only thing I have to take care of for now is paying a part of the costs to Souma in advance….”

There was a short silence before Zoran continued,

“Have you considered the possibility of joining me?” he asked, knowing there was not much else he could offer her.

Please come Akane… I need you….

 

Akane turned her head away for a moment and sunk away in her thoughts. Her long red hair hung over her face, softly hiding its expression.

There is not much left for me here… nowhere to go, nothing to do, no life to lead..

What will you do here on your own?

 

“Yes. I’ll come with you.”

Edited by Aranka

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Ok, next set of critiques :)

 

 

 

as the exhaustion from that odd adventure ought to have worn off by that time.

 

by now.

 

 

Although Zoran spent many moments with her, and talked about life how he had known it, Akane could tell by his eyes that there was something wrong…

 

this needs to be clarified a bit, do you mean talked about his life? talked about his past? talked about general daily life things?

 

 

She didn’t find the courage to ask what spooked his mind yet, herself.

 

no comma here, but you can keep the commma and replace herself with however, it'd sound better in the context.

 

Suraj and Yevhen sometimes grew quiet at the dinner table, only Dina seemed to notice none of it and continued her daily chores as usual.

 

>>Suraj and Yevhen would sometimes grow quiet at the dinner table; only Dina seemed to notice none of it and continued her daily chores as usual.

[quote]

Zoran had seen Akane go outside and decided it was now or never. [/quote]

 

This part is confusing because we don't know where Zoran is atm..a few setences later he seems to already be outside waiting on a bench, but the way you wrote the first it sounds like he could be inside watching her.

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Previous part was adjusted,

and here's another ;)

Feel free to comment

 

- made the suggested changes B)

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

As time slipped by, Zoran and Akane had both gathered a small sum of money that was to pay them their boat trip to Aeth Aelfan, where they could sell the magical crowns Zoran had stolen and start a new life. Before Akane realised it all too well both she and Zoran became little yet infamous criminals in Palon Vertas, widely known for their cunning manoeuvres and decoys.

 

Never had people heard of thieves who managed to pull off such tricks, and the strange thing was that these events only lasted for about two weeks.

Most of the time Akane and Zoran would summon birds or other small animals, and send them to a store to distract the shopkeeper, resulting in quite a chaos. Whilst this was happening, Zoran would pretend to be a by passer who happened to see the whole commotion and came to offer help, while Akane cast an invisibility spell and quickly looked for money and other valuables.

When they then both rejoined at the rendez-vous point Zoran’s eyes would twinkle and his happiness would brighten up Akane’s spirits; as bit by bit she came to forget her past life and enjoyed the new one.

Her withered memories faded away; and secretly she dreamt of this new world she would discover, with Zoran.

 

Life uncomplicated when she was around him; he had a way of putting things in such a perspective, that the crimes they committed seemed natural, and the longer she thought about it, the more she agreed with his point of view. They stole only what they needed, no fancy things.

The people from who they stole often did not lack any money, having so much of it that they could easily live in the same luxury as they had before Akane and Zoran dropped by.

Having become such infamous crooks in the neighbourhood; she wondered if what they did was really a crime.

 

Not that it really mattered though, they would soon be forgotten, as they left for Aeth Aelfan.

 

 

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Akane stood at the front of the ship’s deck, enjoying the sun on her face, smiling.

A soft breeze blew through her hair, fluttering around her face.

Aeth Aelfan, Home to the elves…

Is it really as beautiful as they say?

 

Zoran glanced at her from his shadowy corner, still somewhat worried about Souma’s strange reaction about this voyage.

She had spoken to him in a strange, unexpected way, as if she could feel there was something not right about it; as if Souma somehow knew about the strange things that had happened while he was in that dark, magical room.

Souma had a way of sensing risky business, she always had, but it troubled Zoran that Souma had sensed it this time, too…

To his notion the worst part was already over,

Or not…

 

“Boo!” Yevhen had snuck up to Akane and gave her a little push, so that it seemed she had lost balance and was about to fall overboard.

“Don’t fall, now.” He laughed, clearly pleased with his little joke.

“You idiot!” said Akane a bit mad, but laughing; pushing him around with all her force.

 

Souma grinned faintly as she saw Akane’s reaction, and watched how Palon Vertas faded away and the scenery made room for the more savage and wild view of Kusamura.

To comfort herself, she thought of all the repairs and renovations she could make on her ship. A railing carved out of ebony wood, deck reparations, decorated sails even, if she felt like it. The sound of fluttering sails brought her mind at peace.

Yet there was something telling her that it wouldn’t go quite like she wanted it….

Edited by Aranka

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comments are welcome :pirate:

 

- made the corrections that were suggested :icon13:

 

.:~*~:.

 

Souma’s piercing eyes wandered off to the distant horizon, her face hard and pale. As she scrutinized the sky she noticed the change of direction in the wind.

Not good,

Not good at all.

 

She felt a warm hand on her shoulder, and turned her head swiftly to look who it was.

“Souma, you shouldn’t look so angry at the sky, it’s all clear. Relax a bit, you’re scaring me.” said Suraj, curling his lips into a comforting smile.

It’s not the sky…

“You’re probably right.” Souma replied quietly.

It’s the wind.

 

Night fell, and Souma kept staring with her solemn face, in the distance, as the wind brushed through her hair.

We may have another day, two perhaps.

But the winds are catching up incredibly fast…

 

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Akane wrestled in her sleep, the sound of water sloshing against the ship made her restless.

Far off she heard a deep male voice yelling, overpowered by the roaring wind.

“Take in the sails for gods’ sake!”

Souma’s face turned pale and a sad expression marked her eyes as she saw one of the sails ripping.

Dark clouds had gathered over Kusamura, and announced the coming of a storm, as the trees were bending under the power of the wind. The ship rocked abruptly here and there, hitting some small rocks or broken trees.

 

Zoran woke abruptly, hitting his head because of the ship’s turbulence. As he hurried outside, he tried not to fall; stretching his hands out for walls and furniture to support him.

“For the love of gods, what is happening Souma?” he yelled when he saw the dark sky hanging over Kusamura, and felt how the storm was making the ship steerless.

“We’re in a bit of a crisis here, Zoran, please save whatever you can. We probably won’t make it with the ship still in a seaworthy condition.” she said sternly.

“Well that’s no big problem, we’re only doing rivers, right?” he tried to joke, but Souma gave him a devastating look.

“Don’t be such an ass and help a bit, will you?”

“Souma, I’m sorry, I.. What happened? The sky was perfectly clear last night.”

“Well…” said Souma ironically “In the distance there were some strange things going on, but overnight the weather changed and I guess it sneaked up on us while we were sleeping.”

Her hair was clinging to her face, partially hanging down in black, soaked strings because of the rain; which made a loud, ticking sound on the ship’s deck.

Souma angrily pushed some rope into Zoran’s hands and ran to the other side of the ship, taking a look at the damage.

It’s your fault, and you know it, Zoran

Worst of all, I knew it too.

She thought bitterly.

 

“No wind can go that fast…” Zoran murmured unaudible, and a tight feeling crept into his chest.

Ask yourself stranger...

Edited by Aranka

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Hi, glad to see more from you :P A magical storm..this should be interesting!

 

 

 

he had a way of putting things in such a perspective, that the crimes they committed seemed but naturally,

 

seemed natural,

 

 

 

before Akane and Zoran dropped by...

she wondered if what they did was really a crime…

they would soon be forgotten, as they left for Aeth Aelfan....

but it troubled Zoran that Souma had sensed it this time, too…

To his notion the worst part was already over…

Or not…

 

Try not to use ellipsis(...) too often. There's a ton more too aside from these I quoted, they should be periods. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis

 

 

Souma angrily pushed some roped

 

rope

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Feel free to comment :cry:

 

.:~*~:.

Souma moaned and felt the daylight stinging as she tried to open her eyes. She tried to get up and felt two strong arms lifting her.

“Had a nice rest?” Yevhen teased her, as he tried to get her up.

“Cough for me Souma, you swallowed some nasty stuff I bet.” he said, gently hitting her back as she coughed it up.

“For heaven’s sake” she muttered, “What more adventures will we come across? I’ve quite had enough I think. Imagine Dina’s face when she hears this.”

Yevhen’s pleasant laugh made her momentarily forget exactly what had happened the night before, but she remembered the monstrous lightning all too well. She buried her face in her hands as she recalled the image of the ship burning, and all of them trying to save whatever was possible from its load. All she remembered then was the biting feel of the cold, black water and her body slowly giving up fighting against the creeping darkness; being dragged away in the current.

 

Akane woke and inspected her body for more mosquito bytes besides the ones on her arms, where bruises started to show.

A whole lot further by the river laid Souma’s ship on its side, stranded and severely damaged by last night’s storm: the sail was torn to shreds and covered with dirt from the stranding, a lot of the woodwork broken or damaged.

Poor Souma...

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Zoran sat by himself, staring with a blank gaze to the ground as he had put his arms around his legs.

Steal of need or steal of greed…

That was the question grinding in his head, making his body a numb piece of lead.

I should’ve stopped at one…One would have been enough…

Zoran thought, slightly panicking. He buried his hands in his hair, trying to hide his face at the same time as he could not believe what he had done to himself and the people he cared about.

Losing the second crown while leaving the ship in the middle of the storm had been though to endure, but the realization that struck Zoran now, was beyond everything he had ever felt in his life.

Coward that I am; I cannot tell her about it, or anyone for that matter.

 

“He’s looking pretty gloomy, isn’t he?” Suraj pointed out, while poking with a piece of wood in the small fire they had started.

Souma’s face was grim and weary.

“He’s made a rather massive miscalculation, and is paying for it now... It better not be the bloody loss of that one crown that makes him mope like that. If we are honest about this, we all can acknowledge a very strange thing happened last night.” she muttered angrily.

“And strange things don’t just happen like that either.” she added.

“I think if Suraj, you and I gather our savings and save some items that were on the ship, we can maybe start over and rent a ship.” Yevhen tried, putting a comforting arm around her.

“Yeah Souma, I’m sure we’ll find a way.” replied Suraj, his deep brown eyes carrying a hint of concern.

 

 

.: ~*~:.

 

It took several, long days for the impasse fade and for all of them to realise that even though they hadn’t quite gotten over what happened, it was time to change the sorry state they were in. Time to look ahead, as it seemed they still had quite a journey to go before they reached the nearest civilized area. Organising the party to provide for a sleeping place and food was a lot harder now that they were stranded in Kusamura jungle.

 

Yevhen twisted the fumbled part of paper that was left from the map he kept in his pocket around, trying to determine their position. Souma curiously peeked over his shoulder, trying not to make any sounds, so he would stay focussed.

“And, what does it say?” Akane informed carefully, as she laid a hand on Souma’s shoulder.

“Well... We’ll have to head for Emerald Valley, that’s quite sure, but it might be tricky to get over the rocks bordering it. We’ll have to prepare as well as we can.”

Suraj pointed at the packs of fabric they found at the riverbed, some days after the storm.

“It’s not half the quality it used to be, let alone fit for clothing anymore, but I’m sure we can use it in some way. As a blanket, perhaps make carrying bags out of it, you tell me.” He explained optimistically.

“Okay, let’s do this.” Souma added.

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And some more :cry: critiques are very much appreciated

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

As they travelled towards Emerald Valley’s rocky hills, only the jungle sounds and the saturated noise of their footsteps in the mud pierced the awkward silence.

Hours would pass and occasionally Zoran and Akane whispered to eachother, but the athmosphere was tight and hostile. None of them was quite sure if it was the heavy journey through the jungle that caused it, or something else perhaps.

The general mood was grim, especially since now that they were deep inside the jungle. As they continued, it became harder and harder to find food or suitable resting places, and the air grew denser.

 

A notion of time was hard to keep; the thick leaves blocked out most of the daylight an prevented the circulation of fresh air. The air felt always moist and thick to move through, and the lack of natural daylight or change in scenery was enough to make anyone gloomy after whole days of marching.

Akane would often gather herbs and plants along the way, and use her knowledge to make boosting drinks or compresses for small wounds and blisters.

Making a fire seemed impossible; the wood was never able to dry enough.

The mud and marshes were a tiring struggle to get past, and it often seemed as if they had passed the same places over and over again.

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Suraj laughed in relief when he saw daylight pouring through the leaves and noticed the density of the bushes became much thinner just a few steps ahead.

 

“Sweet Gods!” Souma cried, and the sparkle came back into her eyes.

“You two are amazing!” she continued, ruffling Suraj’s hair and patting Yevhen in the back.

Akane smiled and enjoyed the feel of fresh air against her cheeks; the sunlight on her pale skin. She looked back and noticed how Zoran’s expression relaxed a bit, although he had been very reluctant all this time.

 

Their journey would continue north, where Emerald Valley became greener; where the villages were. Emerald Valley’s Barren Lands were dry and although the area was rather flat and easy to walk through after the mountainous border, the dusty wind and stale sun made it hard for them to travel the relatively small distance to a populated area.

 

“How much longer?” Akane asked as the sky grew dark and it became chilly; rubbing her arms to warm up a bit.

“Maybe it’s a good idea to call it a day.” Yevhen suggested, eager to sit down and rest a bit.

Suraj quickly dropped his backpack on the ground, and started unpacking the fabric they used for sheltering; trying to make a subtle statement.

“Yes, please.” Zoran said with a cracking voice; a feeble but honest smile curled around his lips. Akane turned around and looked at him, smiling back. She had almost forgotten the soothing sound of his voice, after the gloomy days that had passed.

 

Suraj quickly set up an improvised low tent between two piles of rocks he had assembled, with on the fabric’s tips some rocks to prevent it from flying away.

After Souma’s mumbled threats that anyone who would touch her would receive a punch where it hurt most, it grew quiet and all they could hear was the crying wind, and a bit later Suraj’s horrible snoring and some muffled giggling.

Akane may still with her eyes closed and half asleep when she felt the touch of a warm body against her, and Zoran softly put his arm around her.

She smiled secretively and fell asleep by listening to the relaxing pace of his breathing, the warmth of his arm around her; protective and loving.

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and another part :cry: - comments are always welcome

 

.:~*~:.

 

Akane woke and sighed as she heard Zoran and Souma whispering outside the tent.

“How many of those crowns do you have left now, Zoran?” Souma demanded.

“Just one actually.” Akane heard him reply hesitantly.

“Don’t forget, you owe me a new ship, mate.”

Zoran sighed and nodded.

 

When they sneaked back into the tent, Akane pretended to be vast asleep, but kept on wondering why it was that bad luck seemed to follow them around ever since Zoran got his hands on those crowns.

 

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Akane woke by the Souma’s screaming and yelling, and witnessed how the tent was slashed by a dangerously close rusty sword, and collapsed above her.

Zoran panicked for a moment but quickly grabbed a stone and smashed it against the orc that was closest to them. Souma had drawn a middle-sized curved sword, and held out it ferociously out in front of her, swaying with it as if she was trying to scare wolves away with a torch.

 

Yevhen nervously moved around Suraj, who was struck to the ground even before Akane was well awake. A puddle of blood drenched the soil around his leg, where he had a big cut. He moaned and cried, trying to move. Akane grew pale and her body trembled as she searched the ground for her leather bag, which had her magic sigils in it. Her heart lept in her throat and pounded loudly in her head every time she heard Souma’s sword swift in the air.

Shield, shield, shield!

She could hear herself think, picking up the sigils that were scattered under the tent, and trying to keep them in her hands; wildly shaking.

 

As she held the sigils out and pushed them against the essences, a bright blue light appeared and quickly formed a pulsating bulb around Souma and Yevhen, who were facing the orc and tried to wound it in vain.

“Get Suraj out of here, Souma!” Yevhen yelled as he pulled the swords from her hands and pushed her backwards. Zoran had managed to get hold of a dagger and placed himself beside Yevhen, with Akane behind them.

“Akane, you can do more than this!” Souma yelled at her as she ran by and lifted Suraj on her shoulders.

“Your harm spell Akane, your harm spell!” Zoran yelled at her, dodging the lethal blows the armed orc was making towards him.

“Can’t find the damn sigil! I can’t find it, I can’t find it!” she muttered anxiously with an unstable voice, not quite sure if anyone had heard what she said. She ran around scanning the ground for the missing sigil, when suddenly she felt a rough hand grab her face and forced Akane to look upwards with a mean pull. Akane screamed at the look of the sinister, wild black eyes and instinctively smashed the orc against it chin before it could kill her. The orc groaned vicously as it released her and cut Akane in the face as she jumped away.

 

Zoran had left Yevhen and rushed towards Akane, where a second orc had snuck in from behind and attacked. In a desperate attempt to end the game of jumping and dodging, Yevhen made a fierce blow to the orc that faced him, and succeeded.

The blood dripping from Akane’s face made it hard for her to see where she had dropped the other sigils; she searched the ground with her hands as she shivered with horror and pain.

Shield, shield, shield; Gods be damned! Where’s that bloody sigil!

 

“Yevhen, watch it!” Zoran cried alarmed, when he saw another orc appearing from behind a rock and attacking him in the back.

Yevhen’s cry went through the marrow, the shrill deafening sound of agony pierced the air, followed by the harsh sound of his body hitting the dusty ground. A large amount of blood started gushing from his shoulder and formed a dark circle on his clothing.

“No!” Akane cried, her voice breaking in distress, as she had just picked up the last sigils from the ground.

Noooo!

She could hear her scream echoing in her head.

Terror struck her face as she could see the orc heading for her now, approaching quickly, holding its sword out, eager to kill, eager to see blood.

 

In an abrupt movement she smashed her hands together and a fierce, red tainted lightning smashed from the sky, striking the orc only a brief moment before its sword was about to land on her head, again.

From the corner of her eye she could see that in the distance another orc had gotten hold of Yevhen and was dragging him away. Akane stared and hated herself. Only a brief moment’s time later they were already too far away to be even noticed to the human eye.

 

Numb with terror, Akane turned around and saw Zoran struggling to keep the orc at a distance. Akane concentrated and prepared for another harm, but the very instant she was about to cast the spell, the orc anticipated her move and kicked her sidewards, causing her to fall down.

“Aka-“ she heard, followed by a sinister, horrifying scream of pain; then a heavy sigh.

A monstrous, shrill voice pierced her ears, the sound deafening and wild. Akane could feel an immense hatred boiling and biting inside of her, overshadowing her pain, her fears, her mind.

The voice creaked and was saturated with terror as she could discern the hatemongering words it brought forth. It was but when Akane slammed her hands together with all her might, and when another fierce lightning thundered out of the sky, that she realised the voice she had heard was her own, contorted and broken.

 

 

 

.:~*~:.

 

Her heart leapt and froze when she saw his body, lying motionless on the dry, cold soil. Her body felt paralyzed, almost stunned when she forced it to move. As she ran towards him she felt the blood pulsating trough her veins, like barbaric war drums, louder and faster after every beat. She knelt beside him, and he groaned in pain when she laid her ear on his heart. His breathing was fragile yet quite noisy and went in fits and starts, like the galloping of a crippled horse that was desperately trying not to fall.

How could this happen? This of all things?

She could hear herself think.

To fail in such a way...

“I thought… we had a chance…” he tried to speak.

“Hush, hush now.” Souma replied with an anxious voice, looking him in the eyes, her body trembling.

“ The chance to advance…” he sighed in pain.

“Forgive me.”

No, forgive me.

She tried to speak, but her throat was scorched with pain.

 

The tighter she held on to him, the more he slipped through her fingers. In all her knowledge and magical powers there was nothing that could prevent life from fading. She stood powerless. His warmth started to fade the instant he exhaled his last breath; inside Akane something died with him, left her as she put her head on his chest.

The longer she held him, the more his body felt awkward to hold, stiff and cold like a statue.

Unwilling to leave him like he was, she felt her heart break as she knew that she didn’t have the means to give him a proper ceremony. She used her old robe, which she carried with her in a bag, to drag his body along; as Akane lacked the physical strength to carry Zoran.

 

After some hours marching, she had gotten to the riverbed that split the bottom part of Emerald Valley in two, and sat by his body there for the very last time. Akane’s skin was pale and weary; she was visibly in a feeble state, yet determined to arrange Zoran a more or less worthy farewell.

She cleaned up his face with the water, and stroked his hair, wishing she had more time with him. Off some dead branches and the fabric of her old dress, she tied together a small raft and laid his body on it. In the pocket of his pants she found a small pouch, containing bird feathers and life essences.

A bitter smile hardened her face. He had used these feathers to summon the falcon outside the magic school. From the riverbed, she gathered some of the scarce and rather bleak flowers, and folded Zoran’s hands around them. Her body trembled in horror as she pushed him away, into the river.

 

As she walked into the water herself, the cold feeling cramped up her muscles, but Akane was distracted by a far bigger ache. She reached for the pouch with feathers, and took out a falcon feather. After pressing it to her heart and lips, she summoned the elegant bird. It looked her in the eye, with an intelligent gaze, and she noticed the deep red sheen on its feathers. Akane stroked its head, and kissed it.

You must be my eyes and my ears,

my heart and my spirit.

With you is everything I had to lose,

fly with him where I cannot follow.

With a gentle move she swayed her arm up in the air, and her falcon was gone; along with Zoran’s body, carried away by the river.

In her hand she held the last crown that Zoran had managed to keep, and lose.

 

Akane’s eyes stared into the distance, towards an invisible point while tears stained her dark crimson dress, and left small black circles behind. Around her laid a battlefield of broken bodies, carcasses of orcs and men that would soon begin to rot, as the stench of death was already present, so shortly after the battle. Silence prevailed the plain, but inside her she suffered desolation; her voice screaming in agony.

Fate has a cruel way of smothering my dreams… she thought bitterly.

As her gaze inspected the scenery, it truly had become a barren land, full of dust and rocks, and painful memories. A dead land.

 

Darkness clouded her mind and drove her away. She could not remember how long she had marched when she got in this wide cave that, despite the small entrance, let pass a nice amount of natural daylight inside.

Whatever happened in between these two points in time never seemed to have happened at all. A blank gap that left Akane empty, too.

Edited by Aranka

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And the very last part - suggestions are welcome :cry:

 

.:~*~:.

 

The wind rustled through the leaves, brushing her face softly, waving through her hair as she laid there, eyes open, motionless on the cave floor.

She tried to recall the images that were suppressed in her mind, stuffed in a box and put on the top of a forgotten shelf, where she could not reach it. Eventually the pain would fade…

“All will fade..” she murmured softly with a fragile voice.

 

As time slowly ticked away, she became aware that she was lying there, waiting for it to pass her by, and claim her life too, eventually. Her hands were covered in dirt and her mouth was dry. A bit dazed she sat straight and looked around her with a faraway gaze in her dark red eyes.

On the moisty, dark gray cave wall slid a small snake, and by the time it reached the green grass outside, she still sat there; numb, thoughtless. Like a drop carves its way through stone, awareness stirred her mind. She stood up, and washed her hands and face a bit further in the small puddle of water that was present in the cave. The movement of the cool water around her feet was very pleasant, but it went unnoticed. She pulled her feet away and stared into the puddle.

After the ripples receded, a coloured stain appeared on the surface of the crystal clear water, and slowly formed Akane’s face. An obvious scar crossed her left eyebrow and eyelid, all the way past half her cheek. In a repulsive manner she traced it with her hand.

 

A frozen, broken person stared back at her. Seeing herself like that contorted her face in a painful grimace, after which she grabbed the last crown of life and ran outside, into the forest. She scared a wandering fox as she passed it, and with her eyes closed, holding her head angled to the sky, she came to a halt as hot, lead tears welled up and left a burning trail on her cheek.

“All I wanted..” she started whispering with a trembling voice, “ was No more, No more of this…” her voice swelled, and her hands were shaking as she made fists “Pain… rooting so deep inside me.”

Her voice became deep and its echo created a very strange ambiance. She fell to her knees and slammed the magical crown into the earth; the blood of her fists staining it.

 

For a brief moment in time, the wind held still and everything came to peace. To the eye nothing happened, but when winter passed and all the trees had shed their leaves, and all the stones were covered with snow, it is said Akane’s magic was absorbed in the new life that spring brought. As the dark winter nights passed, Akane could feel her pain, her perpetual desolation escape from her body bit by bit, letting go of the past that had harmed her so deeply. Her body felt lighter, more vivid, but her spirit remained broken. Her emotions were absent.

 

When winter passed and spring arrived, the quartz formations that reappeared from under the snow had become soft pinkish red, rose quartz… many of the flowers were also tainted red, but what attracted the eye immediately after that winter was the colour of the leaves the trees carried.

What was once a forest filled with green in spring, was now a crimson red forest with a piercing, ominous atmosphere. It seemed as if autumn never faded in the forest, as if time stood still there to capture the intense feeling of magic and the pain that lay hidden in its soil.

 

When the trading routes reopened and became more accessible after winter again, travelled along the route to Irsis were shocked when they passed by…

Among the village people rumours quickly started to spread of the Red Witch that had cursed the forest and its trespassers, for some traders had seen a cloaked women hiding herself when someone passed by, always dressed in dark clothes. She had deep red hair coming from under her hood , and a scarred face, incapable of smiling, unwilling to speak...

Edited by Aranka

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ok first of all "The wind played between the trees in the forest outside the cave, brushing her face softly and waving about her hair as she laid there, eyes open, motionless on the cave floor." LMFAO it should be story not poetry, and its so predictable ROFL.. I mean no offense but its just toomuchery =)

Edited by exe666

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ok first of all "The wind played between the trees in the forest outside the cave, brushing her face softly and waving about her hair as she laid there, eyes open, motionless on the cave floor."

 

you do have a point there, and i changed the part you mentioned :(

 

LMFAO it should be story not poetry, and its so predictable ROFL.. I mean no offense but its just toomuchery =)

 

I would appreciate it if you could comment less harsh though - LMFAO and ROFL aren't very encouraging really

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ok first of all "The wind played between the trees in the forest outside the cave, brushing her face softly and waving about her hair as she laid there, eyes open, motionless on the cave floor."

 

you do have a point there, and i changed the part you mentioned :P

 

LMFAO it should be story not poetry, and its so predictable ROFL.. I mean no offense but its just toomuchery =)

 

I would appreciate it if you could comment less harsh though - LMFAO and ROFL aren't very encouraging really

Stories have every right to be poetic, its a perfectly fine line and a stylistic choice, not a right or wrong.

 

(still haven't finished this whole story but love what I have read Aranka :( )

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ok first of all "The wind played between the trees in the forest outside the cave, brushing her face softly and waving about her hair as she laid there, eyes open, motionless on the cave floor." LMFAO it should be story not poetry, and its so predictable ROFL.. I mean no offense but its just toomuchery =)

 

just leave him be aranka, you can't expect more than that from a scammer...

honestly speaking, i read all the story, loved all of it, and can't wait for the rest of the story :icon4:

 

EDIT: in my browser, your story page link is always open, i'm waiting to be updated just to rush for the rest of this nice story...keep up the good work :P

Edited by Rasool

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I'm very glad you enjoy this story, I might write some more when i come back from holiday ( approx 2 weeks )

 

tyvm all for the compliments ^^- comments are always welcome ofcourse

 

 

greetings,

 

Aranka

Edited by Aranka

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