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The Crowfall Chronicles - Part 19 Of 20


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Part 1 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-1-of/
Part 2 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-2-of/
Part 3 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-3-of/
Part 4 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-4-of/
Part 5 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-5-of/

Part 6 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-6-of/
Part 7 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...-of/#entry55082
Part 8 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...cles-part-8-of/

Part 9 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...-of/#entry57426

Part 10 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...les-part-10-of/

Part 11 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...les-part-11-of/

Part 12 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...les-part-12-of/

Part 13 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...les-part-13-of/

Part 14 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...-part-14-of-20/

Part 15 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...-part-15-of-20/

Part 16 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...-part-16-of-20/
Part 17 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.cro...-part-17-of-20/

Part 18 of the Crowfall Chronicles - http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/5592-the-crowfall-chronicles-part-18-of-20/



The Crowfall Chronicles - Part 19 of 20
(featuring characters by IridianShadowweaver, Ellie, Fiblit, Fawne, and B1GxB4NG)




Trep was knocked to the side by Mirl and his men at arms as they barged into the entryway of the Nest, hot on the heels of Bepp.  The firecaster landed awkwardly at the foot of the stairs and flame flashed for a moment in his eyes.  The intruders were out of sight within seconds and then Port came running into the entryway, shouting something about Olbuf.  


“Bepp!  She’s in danger!” Trep started towards the door Port had just come through.


“Wait!  She’s fine!  She’s locked in the weapons room. She said to find Olbuf.”


“Olbuf?  He’s in the next room.” Trep started again towards the door.


“Wait! He’s not! He’s gone and I don’t know where or how.”


Trep stopped himself and took a deep breath. He was doing nothing but panicking and that did no one any good. “Olbuf is gone?  He could not have gotten far, not with half a leg missing.”


A dreamy voice interrupted the conversation. “He flew up the stairs. His wing was broken.”  The Farseer still seated by the fire was starting to shake off the effects of the tea.


Port drew his breath in sharply as he noticed the trail of smeared blood going up the curved staircase to the second floor.  He started up the staircase as Trep started after Mirl and his men, both of them shouting to the other to find Olbuf and save Bepp.




Bepp herself had made it with a good 5 seconds to spare into the weapons room, where she closed and barred the door without hesitation.


She ducked instinctively as a double edged throwing knife came whistling through the air to land in the center of a target on the wall near her.


“Sorry about that,” drawled the woman in black. “You keeping wolves at bay or are you here for target practice?”


“We’ve got company.  An incompetent man with orders to kill me, 3 fairly competent fighters, and a group of soldiers. 7 or 8.”  Bepp moved quickly around the room, selecting several small knives, strapping on a chest guard and grabbing a length of chain finished with a spiked ball at the end.  The men outside started pounding on the door.


“Where are the others?  Is everyone else safe?” checked the woman in black.


“I think so. They’re after me.”


“And yet you seem so harmless,” said the woman in black with a gleam of mirth in her eye.  “Let’s get that door open in 3,2,1…”


The woman in black grabbed a bow and quiver and leapt onto the table in the middle of the room.  An arrow was notched and ready to go in by the time Bepp unbarred the door and opened it, taking cover behind the door itself as it swung open slowly then rapidly as the soldiers pushed in.


In seconds, the first three soldiers that entered were dead, fallen to arrows.  The fourth fell to a knife in his throat thrown so fast from behind the door it was a blur.


No one else came in.




Baord and Sill stopped and looked at the white fox sitting quietly before them.  Its fur gleamed like a beacon in the dimness of the large room and without a sound it stood, turned, and trotted off into the darkness, pausing a moment as if to check that they were following.


Sill paused long enough to write quick notes about the location and then followed after his friend, who was already hurrying after the fox.  They kept going in a fairly constant direction, passing through room after room of moldering furniture and decaying decor.  Sill’s notes started to look like a horrific child’s game with phrases like “yellow and blue wall stripes and a rotting piano” and “pile of dead rats on top of a crashed chandelier – once red carpet”.


As they followed the fox through a room filled with dusty trunks, they heard voices coming through the slightly ajar door ahead.  Images of Olbuf and his axe rose in both the boys’ minds but they pressed forward as the fox nudged open the door with its nose and slipped through.  Baord stopped at the door and peered through, Sill writing frantically in his notes in case this was the last thing the villagers would find of them.


Baord had to squint a bit through the dim light.  There were two people sitting down on the floor in the room beyond, eating what seemed to be bread and cheese.  They were covered in dust and cobwebs and the white fox sitting next to them was astonishingly clean compared to their disheveled appearance.  Even odder was a small brown lump tucked up against a knapsack, snoring softly.


Baord pushed the door open a bit more and poked his head through. “Um, hello? Are you from the Nest? Are we in the Nest?”


Oridi and Fox leapt to their feet, astonished to see 2 boys come through the door, clearly dressed in the garb of the villagers. “This is the Nest!  Are you from Martletown? Did you make it through the tunnel!?” asked Oridi, pushing her hair out of her eyes and dropping her bread in the process.


Fox grinned and bowed to the young ones. “Welcome to the Nest. Please tell me you brought the rest of the village with you.”


“Yes, we did! We’re here, all of us. We’re looking for the inhabited part of the Nest and the food storage, um that is if there’s enough. We brought the animals in case there’s not enough but it would be best to keep them whole and hale especially the lambs since no one likes to slaughter the lambs. Too cute and fuzzy and the little ones have really bonded with them this year...” Baord’s voice trailed off as he realized he was babbling.


Fox quirked an eyebrow. “A fan of lambs then are you? Well, let’s go gather your villagers and get them into the main part of the castle.  These are strange days and the more we’re huddled together, fauna and all, the better our chances of making it through the Winter.”


Oridi grabbed the packs, careful not to disturb the brown lump, and handed one to Fox.  “I’ll go clear the way back to the main area and let everyone know we’ve got company.” She carefully lifted the fuzzy lump to rest on her shoulder and the boys realized it was a small bear cub.  The Nest was clearly an odd place.


“What about Port,” piped up Sill. “Did Port make it? And Lord Olbuf, will he let us stay?” Sill’s brow was furrowed in worry and he looked near to tears.


“Port is fine. He made it here safely and he brought this very interesting new friend with him that your young ones may find fascinating,” said Oridi with a distant smile. She handed the little cub over to Sill, who cradled the still sleeping cub with a look of wonder mixed with disbelief. “As for Olbuf, he has a rather grave injury and I’m sure he’s in no shape to find issue with the village taking refuge here in the Nest.”


Fox shouldered his pack and gestured to the boys to precede him.  “Shall we go get your companions and kin?”  The fox slipped through the door first, followed by the boys and then Fox. 


Oridi watched them go and then turned to clear the passage back. She had not been alone for quite a while now and she savored the silence as she made her way back through the endless rooms of the Nest.




The woman in black jumped off the table and strode to the doorway, placing the bow and quiver to the side along the way.   She stood in front of the soldiers, who were still frozen in place after seeing their companions die so quickly.  “Well?  Who are you and why are you disturbing our peaceful afternoon?”


One of the bodyguards pushed to the front of the group. “You’re hereby chattel and property of Chancellor Mirl by right of fealty to the ruler of this castle,” he droned as he grabbed the woman in black’s hands and started to wrap them with a strip of leather. There was a sharp cracking sound, then another, and the bodyguard fell to his knees, one arm bent at an unnatural angle and the other arm hanging useless by his side.


“Anyone else have anything to say?” asked the woman in black.


Before any of the men could respond a blast of heat rolled down the hallway and Mirl, who was at the back of the group of men, started yelling and batting at his robes, which were suddenly smoking. The group turned to see Trep down the hall, standing near the kitchen door and facing them while slowly tossing a ball of living flame from palm to palm. “Everything alright here?” he asked calmly.


“Bepp and I made a bit of a mess,” replied the woman in black, wrinkling her nose and looking down at the corpses of the soldiers.


“No worries,” said Trep, walking slowly forward.  The men, including Mirl, all pressed back against the wall as he came down the hall, moving between them and setting the air to crackling with the heat of his presence. The woman in black ducked behind the thick door as Trep let lose a blast of fire, incinerating the dead men’s bodies and setting the target on the wall on fire.


“Bepp!  I have orders to put her to death from the King!” blustered Mirl, as he moved back a bit in the hall.  “She’s a traitor and must be executed. You there, fire person, I order you to kill her!”


“I heard about that, yes,” murmured Trep.  “Something about a never ending Winter and all the inner planets self destructing and the King ordering her killed to keep the news from spreading, right?” He looked straight at Mirl, “So you’d like her dead so that millions can die ignorant of the danger?”


The 4 soldier’s still alive looked at each other with controlled alarm.  This was the first they were hearing of planets destructing and never ending Winter and if this was in any way true then the midst of a disastrous mission on Parl was not the place they wanted to be.


“Well it would be much nicer if that was not the case.  Even nicer if the whole endless Winter concept was untrue, but it’s a reality we cannot ignore,” said a lovely voice behind Mirl as the scent of green grass filled the air.


The men turned to see the green woman standing by the kitchen doorway. One of the bodyguards started to pull out a strip of leather and got halfway towards her only to find himself suddenly off balance and hugging the wall after a the green woman blew a bit of dust from her palm in his direction. “Perhaps we can all head to the Great Hall.  I am sure we all can promise not to kill each other for at least the next hour, right?”


The green woman headed down the hall towards the entryway, the group of men following her with bewildered looks and whispers about the news of endless Winter. Mirl was having trouble focusing his thoughts and the bodyguards were wondering whether they had erred in following Mirl’s lead into the castle.


Trep and the woman in black brought up the rear, with Bepp slipping out of the room from behind the door only when the hallway was clear.




The Farseer in the entryway came slowly back to her senses.  She moved to the door and motioned for the cook, the only one still left outside, to come in.  It was turning dark and night brought the danger. Once the cook stumbled through the front door they both pushed it shut and barred it against the Hunger dancing in the distance at the edge of the forest.


The two of them sat by the fire, the cook nursing her scorched arm and the Farseer trying to remember what she had said to the green woman. Neither was especially distressed.  The flight through the forest and the endless battles with the Hunger had left them without reserves and for now to be safe and sitting by a warm fire in a clearstone castle was more than enough.


When the green woman entered with the group of men and Mirl, she smiled warmly and invited the two women to join them in the Great Hall upstairs.  The men were docile, subdued by the occasional waft of scent from the green woman and kept further in check by Trep and his still dancing balls of fire. 


The woman in black took stock of the situation when they got up the stairs to the Great Hall.  4 soldiers, 3 bodyguards, Mirl, a Farseer, and a cook.  Present was Trep, herself, her green friend and presumably Bepp was downstairs. Missing was Oridi, Fox and Port. Oridi and Fox were searching for the tunnel to Martletown but where was Port?




Port was at the top of the Star Tower, looking down at the crumpled body of Olbuf. He had followed the trail of smeared blood up the stairs and into the tower, climbing all the way to the top to see the final choice of the Lord of the Nest.


He knew that he should be glad Olbuf was dead after all the bullying the man had done in the village but looking down at the crushed body below Port could only feel a deep sorrow.  Why would he do such a thing?


The ground around Olbuf was solid black with crows, as if they were waiting for something.  Above the motionless heads of the birds danced the Hunger. Port didn’t understand.  Why wasn’t it Infecting the corpse? He stood there a while, and then his eye was caught by a flicker of bluewhite light on the body’s side. Things became clear. The Hunger was not invading the corpse because the Hunger was already inside it.


Port suddenly comprehended Olbuf’s decision with a rush of understanding and he found himself sobbing, kneeling on the floor of the tower and weeping for the futility of Olbuf’s last days.




Baord and Sill moved quickly back through the halls to where they’d left the villagers.  When they came around the corner with Fox and the pure white presence of the fox, the villagers noticed them and raised a cheer.


“You did it!” said Krell, giving Board a pounding on the back and doing a double take at the bear cub in Sill’s arms.  Most of the children were already getting ready for bed but they changed back into their day clothes and everyone was ready to move out in less than an hour.  They were grateful to be in the Nest but it was a cold, dark hallway and warmth and light seemed worth an evening trek.


Oridi had left clear markings on the trail and they moved quickly.  Within an hour they were approaching the dining room turned sickroom where Olbuf had been tended. 


When they got into the castle proper Oridi was there, and she quickly pulled Fox aside. “I listened outside the door of the Great Hall and it seems that there’s a group of men there that came to claim the castle.  There’s also a Farseer and a cook with them but I’m not sure how dangerous they are.  Bepp is in the kitchen as apparently the men are also here to serve as her executioners per orders from the King. Trep and the woman in black are keeping them at bay for now, with the subtle but effective skills of the green woman assisting, but I’m not sure how long that will last.  Perhaps the presence of the villagers will turn the tide towards reasonable behavior for now.”


Fox stared at her. “How long were we gone for? A few days? They got in this much trouble in a few days?”




Nika and the Dragon watched with interest from the battlements as the Hunger moved through the abandoned tents in front of the Nest.  They had missed seeing Olbuf fall from the tower but noticed the absence of the crows from the walls of the castle.


“Perhaps it’s time to head out,” mused the chinchilla.


“I do believe you’re right,” agreed the Dragon.


“Race you to Cice…” challenged Nika.


“You’re on!” grinned the Dragon.


“Last one to the Queen’s Arrow is a packpig!” called Nika as she dropped a rope over the castle wall.


The two of them raced through the Hunger in front of the castle, blades flashing and the Hunger retreated quickly once the fighters’ skill was clear.  They were soon gone, disappearing into the Eastern woods like smoke in the fading light.




Port opened his eyes and found himself staring into the perfectly round black eye of a crow. The bird was inches away from his face and its beak looked like a dagger from so close.  He had sobbed himself asleep here on the floor of the top level of the Star Tower and night was falling quickly. 


Port rolled slowly back away from the crow and heard a complaining caw as he bumped into several crows behind him.  The room was filled with them now and he quietly crawled to the door, birds landing on him and nibbling at his hair. 


They wheeled about above him, making small cawing noises and clacking their beaks. He made it to the door and opened it as gently as he could, feeling the tugs at his hair grow sharper.  The small mutters of the crows grew louder and Port threw himself through the door, half rolling, half sliding down the stairs and doing his best to close the door behind him. 


The crows fell quiet and stared at him through the half open door.  Port felt his way down the stairs with his feet, keeping his eyes on the crows and sighing in relief when he was around the first bend and out of their sight.


He raced down the stairs, suddenly realizing how long he’d been gone and how difficult it was going to be to tell Bepp what happened. He burst out of the bottom door of the tower and ran unexpectedly into a large group of people gathered nearby.


“Port!” exclaimed Krell as he grabbed him by the arm to keep him from knocking over anyone else.  “You’re alright!”


“Krell!  You made it! The village made it!” Port sat down suddenly, tears welling up again. 


“Port!” His name was repeated around the room as the villagers saw him. “Trep is here too, hey Port! Trep is alive!”


The room quickly turned to chaos as everyone tried to hug Port and Trep was pulled over to tell his tale once again. Mirl and his men sat quietly in one corner of the Great Hall, still under the influence of the green woman’s dust. The cook was down in the kitchen with a number of villagers, making a meal for those that were still up and hungry. The Farseer had still not put up her hood and was playing with the bear cub.


The woman in black crossed off Port’s name from her mental list.




Oridi sat in the sickroom with Bepp. “They’ll find him,” she reassured Bepp. “He’s probably wandered off and fell asleep somewhere and the fox will sniff him out soon enough.”


Bepp knew that was not the case.  She felt it deep inside. She sat still and waited for the news she knew would come.


Port came into the room, hesitant. Bepp lifted her eyes.


The boy’s face, streaked with tears, contorted into a grimace. “I’m sorry,” he blurted out.  “I’m so sorry.”


“Where,” asked Bepp.


Port motioned for her to follow.


“Put this on” urged Oridi, handing Bepp the Farseer cloak from a chair in the corner.


Bepp put on the cloak and followed Port with a steady stride.  Oridi came after and the three of them climbed the stairs to the Great Hall.  They passed unnoticed through the crowd in the hall and Port led them to the door to the Star Tower.


“There are crows,” he muttered. “A lot of crows.”


Bepp said nothing but pushed past him through the door and started up the stairs.  Oridi followed close behind. Port grabbed a torch off the wall of the Great Hall and went into the stairwell, closing the door behind them. 


When Bepp got to the half closed door at the top she did not hesitate but pushed it open and went in.  The crows were quiet but alert, watching with fascination, ranged around the room like a cloak of black.


Port came in after Oridi, the torch shaking in his hand. He pointed to the Northernmost window.


Bepp went to the window and looked down. Far below was the crumpled, ruined body of her son.

“His leg still had the Hunger,” whispered Port.  “I saw it, when I first came up. He was Infected.”


Bepp felt herself go cold, then weak. Oridi stood next to her, ready to catch her.


Down by the body, the Hunger danced.  As Bepp watched, it entered her son’s body as if playing puppetmaster.  She saw it try to raise his dead hand, then try and move his head.  She felt a roaring hatred rise in her.


Olbuf had done his last task well. His body was so mangled by the fall that not even the Hunger could find use for it now. As Bepp stood there, Port handed her the torch.  She took it, held it out the window, and let go.


The torch plummeted down and landed on Olbuf’s body, fire engulfing it and the Hunger darted back from the heat.


Bepp turned and looked at the crows. “There’s nothing you can salvage now.”




Back in the Great Hall the villagers settled in for the night. Mirl and his men were still in their corner, half plotting their revenge while smoking really enjoyable bits of herbs wrapped in paper that the green woman had given them.


The animals were downstairs in a side room off the entryway and the few people still awake were talking quietly in the entryway, too tired to sleep.


No one noticed the glimmer of blue white light on the soot covered back wall of the fireplace that they had let grow cold.  The blackened char from the fire had coated the clearstone enough for a thread of Hunger to take hold, a bit of the tenacious bluewhite that was tossed into the fire with Olbuf’s foot.  It traveled slowly up the fireplace wall and onto the tapestry above, finding a narrow bridge over the clearstone in the form of a stray thread that started in the tapestry and ended singed but still present on the sooty roof of the fireplace.


The Hunger kept to the underside of the tapestry, out of sight.  By morning it covered the back of the entire thing.



The Crowfall Chronicles - Part 20 of 20 - http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/5790-the-crowfall-chronicles-part-20-of-20/


Woman in Black - Ellie

Chinchilla - Fawne
Centaur - Vaands
Man with Fox - Fiblit
Knight - Luscia

Woman in Green - Iridianshadowweaver
The Dragon - B1GxB4NG
The Confessor - Ozzie Mozzie

Edited by Oridi


The Chronicles of Crowfall           The Free Lands of Azure            RIP Doc Gonzo.

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