The Tamer (Opening)

This is another story I wrote when I was younger; I was involved in a D & D group when I was a teenage (17,18) with some of my closest friends and I decided to write a real story involving our characters (like all good nerds do)  It’s been passed around but this is the first time it’s being shared with the public (please forgive anything copywritten; I have no idea what is or isn’t I simply used the names, places and characters we encountered in our adventures, mostly).

The Tamer
 
 
 
 
By Jessie Robertson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
[[[Our story is a simple story, but one that has many great adventures.  It speaks of heart, compassion, revenge, faith, determination and friendship.  It takes place in a land where man is not the abundant occupant.  Many races of creatures co-exist with man, including the elves, forest-dwelling, as silent as the snow, and most honorable among the races; the dwarves, short, stout, mechanically inclined and a love of the mountains; the gnomes, even shorter yet, wiser, and slightly more nimbler than the elves.  This world is also filled with dragons, giants, fairies, pixies, trolls, goblins, ogres, shadows and many more creatures.  You will meet them all on our journey.  The world is also filled with magic, and people that have learned to manipulate it and use it as a weapon.  There are also many mystical weapons in the world that have been enchanted by magic.  Quite a fantastic place, wouldn’t you say?  This is a story of greed, power and ruthlessness and the attempts by the people of this land to fight back against these goals and everything they represent.  We hope you enjoy its action and humor, and meet these wonderful people that we have got to know.  Remember, if you do like them, there’s many more stories to tell.]]]]
 
 
“I don’t think you should go messing around with Titan’s shrine.  I mean, he’s practically a god to all giants.”
The young man, dressed in a regaled fuchsia, said, as he frantically tried to keep pace with his traveling partners.
“I didn’t bring you along for your thoughts.  Only your singing.”
The large brute spoke in a gruff tone.  He was a twig’s height over seven feet and had muscles rippling on his arm like dunes in the desert.
“Well, you’re only asking for trouble,” Lentern said, making sure his voice was heard.
He wore a clean feathered cap to cover his sandy blonde hair and had a custom- crafted lute strapped to his back.
“Asking for trouble is a daily task for us.  You’ve never been to the slums of Kings gate, have you?  If you didn’t find trouble once a day, it found you.”
This was uttered by a small, stout bundle of hair and weaponry.  In his hand was clutched a sharpened axe that was filthy in dried blood.  His dark armor engulfed him and on his side was strapped a wooden mug for drinking.  He is of dwarven descent.
“Gert, don’t waste your time arguing.  We are bringing down that statue, one way or another,” Crocarius, intervening, spoke loudly as they came upon a clearing in an open field. 
There was a young family picnicking under the shade of a monumental statue of a very tall, much built figure.  This was Titan, a martyr of giants the whole world around.  He had given them someone to look up to, figuratively speaking.  He was the most intelligent one of the giants the gods had ever created up until that point.
Lentern watched as Croc and Gert moved forward onto the gargantuan granite idol.  They went to the sides of it, like a pack of wild wolves closing in on a defenseless prey.  Croc motioned to Gert, and from the sack tied around his shoulders, he produced a fine, thick rope.  He threw one of the ends to Croc.  Croc noticed the family’s young son looking up at him, so he smiled and proceeded on with the plan.  He started climbing the base of the statue, kicking the offering plate over, spilling many coins on the ground.  Croc scaled the idol until he could stand on the shoulders.  He started tying the rope around the neck, but heard a shrill whistle in the far off distance of the woods.  He looked west to the tall trees that were not doing a very good job of concealing a tower, perhaps some sort of watch tower.
“We’re going to have company very shortly,” he yelled at Gert.
“I’m coming down.  Hold on tight.”
Gert took a defensive posture and dug his heels into the soil.  Croc cut a small piece of rope from the end and looped it over the rope tied to the giant statue’s neck and slid down into Gert.  They could see, moving out of the trees were six humans all adorned in rusty plate armor and a tall forest giant. 
“Let’s yank this thing down before we start on the walking corpses,” Gert suggested.
Croc looked at the towering stone monstrosity for a moment and replied
“No, we’ll use it to our advantage.  Lentern, hide somewhere you can see us and write down all the good stuff.”
Lentern took out his quill and parchment and went to east of the pasture. 
Croc turned to the family, who was now noticing the giant and soldiers, as their screams of terror indicated.
“I apologize.  We’ll have this cleaned up shortly,” Croc said, but the father gave him a cross look, as the son threw his half-eaten apple at Croc.  They gathered up their things and headed off towards Lentern’s direction.
“Some people… ungrateful, stinking…” Croc mumbled as Gert picked up the half-eaten apple and took a bite out of it.
“Yeah, these kids aren’t taught to finish their food.”
“Quit fooling around and get ready.  Here they come!”
 
The two warriors, dirty and hard-bitten, watched as the six humans were
the first to make it to them, all with swords in hand.  They were ready to commence their assault but were stricken with fear as Croc reached behind his head and pulled out a wide, long blade that seemed to cut the sky in half as he drew it to his hands.  Then, looking at the small, plumper dwarf, Gert heaved his axe in front of him and bit the apple into another half and spit it out at their feet.  They now let out a bellowing scream and ran forward, and as they did, three of the men turned around and headed back to the tower.  Unfortunately for them, the oncoming giant crushed them all under his massive feet as he neared the battle.  Croc sliced one soldier’s sword in half, and then slugged him in the face with a roundhouse punch.
 
 Another one of the guards lunged at Croc as he blocked the shot and pulled his sword around the man’s head and sliced him across the waistline, severing him into halves like a festival ham.  Blood hit the ground like a bucket of water and splashed over Croc’s boots like a wave.  Gert had removed his opponent’s arms from his torso so quickly there would be no pain for them, only death.  The giant now approached them both and let out a hearty laugh.
“You think that display impresses me?  I am Tholoff.  Titan handpicked me to watch over his beautiful statue.  You are no bigger than one of my toes!” and he let out another hearty laugh. 
As he was talking, Croc was putting his foot underneath the rope that was attached to the statue.  He screamed “Now!” at Gert and kicked the end of the rope up into the air.  Both men grabbed it and with all the might they could muster in a small second, they gave an immense pull on it.  The statue tipped and fell directly on the underestimating guard’s large head.  Both of the giants fell long and hard to the ground and when they hit, a tremor was sent through the whole field.  It disturbed Lentern in the middle of a sentence.  He was very happy with what he had written.  It was going to be a great war song. 
 
Croc walked toward the fallen giant and slid his sword into his throat and retracted and sheathed it.
“Here lies Tholoff, Titan’s handpicked guard.  He will be the first of his followers to fall.” 
Croc looked at Lentern and said “Well, how did we do?  Is it worthy of the ballads of the past?”
“Why, of course, Master Crocarius.  I will paint you both in the light of the great warriors of our time.” 
Gert picked up the half of the apple he spit out and finished the last bite, then pulled his mug from his side and filled it with water from his cowhide container.  He took a big drink.
“Ah, Lentern, try some of this.  It’ll put hair on ya.”
Lentern took a whiff and reeled back.
“That water has gone diseased.  I don’t think you properly cured your hide.”
Gert laughed and said “It’s not the skin.  It’s the mug.  It’s fairy-blessed.”
“What do you mean “fairy-blessed?” Lentern asked with a puzzling look.
Croc responded, “All dwarves call magic by that phrase.  It’s all they believe in, in that regard.  Only fairies create magic.  Magic and fairies and spells, it’s all foreign to them.”
“Well, I hope old Titan has plenty of evil fairies to save him from us,” he said with a grin.
“Come, my companions, we have a ways to go to get to him.  We must travel on past the Silver Wood and near the White North to find Titan.  But, first, let us go to the Rusty Bucket for some ale.”
Croc slapped young Lentern on the back and almost knocked him over.
“Easy, big fellow.  My lute holds the key to your heroic destiny,” Lentern said.
Croc and Gert both let out a laugh as they went on the path to their favorite bar.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Deep in the Silver Wood, a grey wolf weaves through the trees and shrubbery, running as fast as his hind legs can take him.  A ways behind him, but closer than he appeared was a muscular, nearly nude man who was sniffing and moving through the woods at an alarmingly fast pace.  He had a large spear in his hands.  The wolf seemed aware of his pursuer, and slowed his step in spots, but only for the briefest of moments.  The man would capitalize theses lapses and cut his distance in half each time.  The man was nearly on the wolf’s heels, but refrained from throwing his weapon.  The wolf picked up his pace and moved off the beaten path they were treading on.  The man seemed oddly unfamiliar with woods he had presumably known like the back of his hand.  They didn’t slow down as the man was not aware of his direction, but the wolf seemed precisely at home in this area.  The wolf tried to goad at the man by moving faster and faster and turning more and more sharply around trees and kept this pace and speed up for several hundred feet until a thick covering, held up in the tallest of trees, was up like a wall to their left and the wolf scurried under.  The man, not wanting to lose this race, also quickly ducked down and crawled under, like he himself was an animal.  Inside this grassy wall were a gleaming silver pond and a light coming in from the heavens that shone upon it brightly.  The running and chasing had now stopped as the man seemed to want to take in his surroundings.  He stooped and kneeled to the ground, picking up some soil and smelling its odor.  He looked around this unfamiliar area as the wolf went down to the pond and bent his head over the water.  He took a few small sips from the unique water.  Then, the wolf let out a howl and then spoke.
“Your eyes are like a hawk’s and your nose that of a wolf, my friend.”
The man said nothing, and was still taking in the environment surrounding him.  The wolf then started changing into a standing figure!  He was transforming into a small man, in an earth brown hooded robe, with pale hands.  The water then made a small ripple and a beautiful woman with wings poked her head from the pool.
“This is Dysia.  She is the dryad of the Silver Wood.  She has asked me to bring you here.  We need your eyes and nose, for there is imminent danger.  You are a lucky one, to have been allowed to meet her.  She requires your help.  Come forward.”
The man moved forward on his hands and knees and knelt close to the beautiful woman.  She reached out from under the water and touched his face and spoke.
 
“He is an honest creature, and a brave warrior.  I see a powerful side of him.  Tell me about him, Sashrala.”
She fluttered her silver eyebrows as she spoke.  Dark hair that seemed illuminated from within itself flowed over her light, delicate face.  Her small purple lips made her words seep like love into your mind.  The man felt taken with her even though he was happily wed.  The robed man moved forward and spoke to her.
“He is from the Tianta tribe that resides within your woods, and he posesses the spirit of the great Shardic inside him.”
Dysia’s face had a surprised look on it.
“I knew Shardic, for we were friends many ages ago.  His spirit lives well inside you.  What is your name?”
The man said nothing, just stared at the woman’s eyes.  Sashrala spoke up for him.
“I have called him Hawkeye.  He speaks no common or woodland tongue.  His name is Tiantan and unknown to me,” Sashrala replied.
“Alright, Hawkeye.  There is an age old story of three great beasts who roam the world, to either bless or curse this land based on their findings of how the inhabitants have treated it.  You must go with Sashrala and encounter the ancients on your way to the White North.  There is an ancient crown that can control their wills, and we need your tracking skills to find it.  All of this my woodland creatures have told me.  I know you cannot comprehend my words, but you can hear my heart speaking to you and you must know that this mission is of the utmost importance.  Be weary on your way, for an evil giant is also on his way to find the crown, but you must not let him get it.  The ancients are both wise and kind, but also inhabit all of nature’s fury, so do not anger them.  Sashrala, my most trusted friend, has spoken on your behalf.  Please help us and your own people, for our way of life hangs in the balance of your success.”
Dysia swam away and dipped back under the water as Sashrala turned to his ally.
“I trust you with my life, and you have become a good friend.  We will leave tomorrow, but first you should go home to your wife.  This journey is not guaranteed for safety.”
 
 
 
 
Outside the camp of the Tianta tribe, two questionable figures loom around the exterior of the camp.  Usually, the native men and women of the tribe would hear anything sounding like intruders, but these two men were specially gifted as not to be heard.  One is a thief, and the other is a magician, specializing in illusions, or tricks of the mind.  He has come upon the place inside an aura of inaudibility, or no sound.  It’s one of his tricks.  The thief, on the other hand, has been trained to move silently and observe.  But, it’s only information he is after here.
“I don’t see him,” the thief said.
“Who?” the illusionist responded.
“The leader.  He’s not here.”  The thief, with wondering eyes, was scanning the area.
“How do you know?  They all look the same and we’ve only just arrived.” 
“Let’s go,” and with that, the thief quickly ambled back through the woods, with Permion, the illusionist in tow and in silence.
 
The Rusty Bucket was as dingy on the outside as it was on the inside.  The roof slumped down over the side of the building like a pair of wet knickers.  Vines and ivy had grown in the sills, and the sign had not grown rusty, but moldy and unsafe hanging above people’s heads.  So, it was taken down and tied to a post in the ground and instead replaced by a large replica of the bar’s name, which in these old days was even more unsafe.  The Bucket was run by an old codger by the name of Finneran, who did nothing but pour ale all over himself and complain about the local law.
“These damn hooligan kids and their thieving and magical ways!  Damn them all!” he would say.
Uneducated folks around this part of the world would blame their troubles on magic and things unknown to them.  This bar was part of The Wold, a low-level area residing directly above the Silver Wood.  Everything on this side of the Dunan River ran northward up and on into the Great White North and on beyond the mountains.  On the other side of the Dunan ran the “Fear-est” as all the local kids called it.  It was actually called the Charron Forest, named for it’s abundance of large, lifeless black trees.  Evil goblins and black elves roamed these lands freely, killing anything intrusive upon their grounds.  It is rumored a giant Centaur, a half-man, half-horse, governs the whole area with a magical lance.  No one has actually seen him, only myths and whispers of this magical creature.  Dysia the Dryad knows of his evil presence, but does not speak of him.
 
Back to the other matter, The Rusty Bucket:  Now, this bar is not particularly well known for its hospitable clientele.  It’s actually the place to go to either watch a fight or be in one.  And the beer is cheap and watered down.  Outside of it walked two small fellows looking for a rest from their travels. 
“So, are we going to talk about my quest?”  Permion, the wild haired illusionist inquired.
“Yeah, sure,” Demagauge replies.
“Go in and get us a table.  I’ll be right in.” 
He watches Permion waltz inside the loud establishment and then he walks around the side of the building.  He pulls out a minute whistle and lightly blows it.  A few seconds later, a small black crow swoops down to his shoulder.  He feeds it a small morsel and then wraps a small parchment around his leg.
“Fly quickly, Jinx.  Directly to the Princess.  No delays.”
He then shoos the animal away and walks back over to the front door and enters.  He quickly surveys the scene.  Permion is easily noticed, due to a floating menu in the air.  Luckily enough, he picked a corner table. 
“He’s waving his arms around like he’s loopy,” Gauge thought to himself.
He sees Finneran, the bartender, in the corner; a loud, boisterous man in armor at the bar, two women near him, and eight other patrons in the bar.  Four couples and all human.  Gauge makes his way across the facility and sits across from his new found friend.
“Okay, so where do we start looking?”  Permion asks Gauge, wide-eyed.
“We already are.  Haven’t you noticed?”  He sharply replied.
He watched Perm’s facial expressions, made up of interest and excitement.  It’s like he’s really looking for adventure and the girl is second place.
“Anyone here could have information.  Look at the bar.  That knight standing there.  He works at the Citadel and is privy to all kinds of secret information and missing persons reports in this region.  All’s we’d have to do is inflate his pride with jest and liquor and he will spill his guts.” 
Gauge pauses to see Permion nodding his head in thoughtful approval.
 
 
“Then, there are the locals.  For the right price, any of them could have seen her, which goes for Finneran, as well.”
He glances up at the bartender, just as he is burping.  Then, a crowd of people come wandering in. Gauge quickly counts fourteen, no fifteen.  He spots someone moving through the crowd fast and almost unnoticed.
“Damn it.  What’s he doing here?”  Gauge tries to hide his face.
“Who?  Which one is he?” Permion inquires.
“The short one.  The halfling.  He’s a thief, a dirty one.  His name’s Ruffy Windeggan.  Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact. And that lady, the taller, dark short haired woman.  Her name’s Cuttice.  Don’t speak with her, either.  She’s not to be trusted.  I know from personal experience.  And there’s Big Bosoms.  Order, will you?”  He said.
Permion slightly turned his head and was engulfed by a large, white chest with a face.  He jumped back in his chair.
“What can I get you, hon?  I don’t bite.”  She said with a smile.
 
“Who wants to contest Daruis the Brave in a duel?” shouted the loud, boisterous knight at the bar, just spotted by our thief friend and magician moments earlier.
All the laughter stopped and in through the front door walked a young human, a stout dwarf, and some kind of half-giant, half-human.  Gauge observed as this monstrosity spoke.
“Crocaruis of Kings gate will accept.  Lentern, get out your quill and ink,” he whispered to his companion.
“Well, give me ale while I’m waiting,” Gert the dwarf told the barkeep.
“Hey, Gauge, do you know those guys?” Permion asked, eager for the thief’s answer.
“Haven’t the slightest,” and with that reply, he cut across the bar and sat at Ruffy’s table across the way.
“What are you up to, half-thing?” he asked.
“No more than you, elf.  Just keeping an eye out for a renowned tracker.  I hear he’s a real savage.  You know the deal,” he retorted.
“Yes, I do and I’m the only reason you do.  I brought you in on this, so don’t even think about crossing me.”
Gauge watched all of the thief’s movements as he monitored the bar emptying, including his travel companion, to watch the impending challenge of brute versus buffoon.
“I’m only trying to get in Titan’s good graces.  Who’s the kid with you?  It’s not your style to travel with others,” Ruffy asked.
“Well, if you must know, he’s on a quest.  For a woman.  I’ve been paid handsomely for my services as a brave warrior.”
“You? Brave? Warrior?  Have you ever considered the stage?  You are a true thespian to have convinced him of that.  I’m sure you can rid yourself of him when we all meet back at Titan’s.
“He won’t be going.  But he’s not useless.  He knows of magic and trickery.  He can be of use with the savage.”
“And what about the woman?”
“The woman’s not my concern.”
“Speaking of women and concern,” and he quietly scurried away in a quiet manner as Cuttice approached the table.
“Long time no see.  Haven’t seen you at one of Titan’s meetings.  What are you, one of his special thieves?”  Gauge sensed anger in her voice.
“Maybe you haven’t seen me because I haven’t been there.  Or maybe you haven’t seen me because I have been.”
“So, how’s business? Lonely?”  She gave a smirk with the comment.
“Even lonelier.  Actually, I have company,” and Gauge pointed to Permion.
“Well, what’s in that for you?  Because we know everything revolves around you, your jobs, and your plans.  You have to leave it that way.  It’s all you know.”  Cuttice takes a small breath.
“We’re looking for a girl.  His girl.  It meant something to me to help him.”
Gauge looked up at his former love, as she took in his last statement.  The quiet moment was disrupted by a man whining outside.  Cuttice seemed unimpressed and turned to walk out of the bar, and Gauge slipped up and joined her on her way outside.
 
“Well, Darius the Brave, you were not so good at all!”  Croc laughed and the crowd laughed as the knight lay on the ground bested.
“You are a strong warrior, Master Croc, and I would be honored to be in your service.”
Darius said from his back.
“There’s no need for that.  I have friends with me already.  Thank you for your humbleness, though.”
 
In the distance were torchlight’s and the sound of creaking boards rattling, like old wagons moving across the land.  Croc and Gert turned to observe as a caravan moved into sight distance.  They could see robed priests and soldiers, militia maybe because of their bad armor, six in all they counted.  They were walking in front of a wagon that had a driver and three men in the same armor, shadowing the wagon, possibly in case anyone tried to take it.  As it moved closer, Croc could see the robed figures had ropes tied to their necks and were tied to the wagon.  He suspected foul play in this group.
 
“Lentern, come here,” He was being showered in kisses by a young woman in the back of the crowd.
“Yes, sir Crocarius,” and he ran up beside Croc and stood at attention.
“This is not the Citadel, and I am not a soldier, boy.  Secure us a room in this place.”
“I’ll go with him.  I’m pretty bushed,’ Gert mumbled as he started walking around Croc.
“Wait.  I want us to check this out first.  You know I don’t trust religious folk.”
“There’s not much you do trust.”
“I trust you.  That’s why I want you here.”
Lentern walked back to his lady friend and into the bar/keep, as the crowd that had gathered for the small scuffle was disbursing.  Two of the villagers went to Darius’ side and assisted him in getting up.  The two women that were with him in the bar looked to be following Lentern into the Bucket.  Darius dusted off himself and approached Croc as he was watching the wagon start to move in front of him.
“Crocarius, I am a man of devout beliefs.  I will speak with these traveling followers.”
He stepped forward to meet them.  Croc rolled his eyes and watched.  As the caravan began its complete pass in front of him, his eyes caught the tied up priests who were all robed.  Now, he could see that they were not robbed, but bagged with sacks, one large one for their bodies and another for their heads.  Croc moved forward.
“How’s the weather in Vallkville?  Are the blossoms out yet?” Darius was babbling on with the driver as Croc spoke up.
“Why are those three people bagged and tied to your wagon post?”  He gave the driver a stern look.
“Oh, those are crazy people.  We’re taking them to Loonsdale to be institutionalized.”
“Un-bag and untie those three right now, under my care.”
Croc could see the three soldiers turn from the back and face him as the driver spoke back to him.
“These people are ill in the head.  They are not used to civilization.  We’re taking them to Loonsdale, and that’s that.”
“As the religious sort, I thought you would treat each of Zeus’ creatures the same.”
The three soldiers from the back stepped out as Croc stood right in front of one and looked down at him.  He could feel the fear seeping out of the guy’s pores.
“Un-bag them or it’s your head!”
The three soldiers now pulled out their weapons to attack as Gert ran in from behind and swept their legs with the handle of his axe. 
“Now, stop this.  No violence in the name of religion!” Darius screamed as Gert popped him in the nose, and down he went.
“Yeah, that would certainly be a first, wouldn’t it?” Gert replied sarcastically.
 
The soldiers now stood up and Croc backhanded the first one to step in front of him.  Another one held back his sword and screamed, but as he lunged forward, Croc kicked him in the gut and knocked all the wind out of him, then decked him with a huge haymaker.  The third guy ran towards Croc, as well, so Croc grabbed him by the neck and redirected him into the side of the wagon, his head crashing through the wood making the walls of the exterior.  Gert was now introducing the two on the ground to his metal gauntlets and tying them up for the local authorities.  Croc used his sword to cut the binds of the bagged crazy people as the driver grabbed his sword.  Just as he was lifting it, from inside the wagon came a voice that screamed “Go!”
He dropped his sword down and grabbed the reins and took off, leaving their prisoners behind.  Gert walked forward and took off two of the people’s bags to reveal a young man and a young woman, both dressed in very tight clothes.  Croc reached up to reveal the third person, and when he removed the sack, it was almost as if a light blinded his eyes because he could not see for a moment.  He looked back towards the town to shield his eyes, and he could see everyone else looking away, blinded by some sort of brightness emanating from this person.  When Croc looked back, he couldn’t believe what he had seen.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
           
 
 
 
Inside the wagon that just made its narrow escape set a very peculiar individual.  He was a priest, raised in a witch’s coven.  There he was created, not birthed by any woman.  He was built of many different parts from many different species, a mongrel of society; the result of an ancient powerful spell to give life to a mixed bag of parts.  He was given the name Damien, one of the many names of the demon Satan.  He was left on a hermit priest’s doorstep, who took him in and taught him the evil wicked ways of the god of death, the devilish Bane.  These origins are unknown to all and his age is an even bigger mystery.  He wanders the lands, causing turmoil and misery everywhere he goes and does not wish to stop.  His power is not of full capacity anymore, but with each sacrifice to his god, he is granted more and more power.  Evil and treachery run through it’s veins and pours out of his eyes.  He was on a mission, and had a goal to reach and seemed to be hell-bent on doing so.  He was sitting next to an ornate blue box inside his wagon.  He was petting it, while muttering “Soon enough, my child, soon enough.”  He then hissed at the driver, “Proceed to the wizard’s house!”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Silver Wood held many mysteries, including fairies (small, magical creatures that can grant wishes), pixies (also small, winged creatures who like to cause much mischief), and lycanthropes (men or women who have the ability to morph into a specific animal.)  But it was home to a small tribe of Tiantans, strong native people who believe in the strength of the land and its inhabitants.  Sashrala followed his silent friend into the inner folds of this camp, as his friend acknowledged his fellow members in their native tongue.  The Tiantans were all very tan-skinned, and barely clothed, but hard working.  A massive fire was lit in the center of the circular arrangement and a thick tent was pitched mere feet from it.  Many others sat up all around the camp, fifteen or more, some with small fires lit up.  A wooden rack of sorts was built around one of the bigger tents with meat and animal skins hung about it.  It was left away from the forest as to not attract other hungry species.  Hawkeye took Sash right into the center and quickly stepped in the large tent and came back out, moments later, with a petite, dark haired woman.  She spoke to Sash in the common tongue.
            “Hello, friend of the forest.  My husband has taken to you over the time he has known you and I am pleased to meet you as well.  He senses you are trustworthy of his secrets.  In your tongue, my name is Mockingbird.  I know you are aware of, what shall I call him to you?” she asked plainly.
            “I’ve been calling him Hawkeye,” Sash replied.
            “Very well, Hawkeye.  I know you are aware of his spirit animal, the great bear Shardic.  If you are to accompany him on this journey, please take care of him.  If he transforms, it will only last an hour.  And when he goes back to himself, he is very weak and needs much peaceful rest.  If my husband trusts you, so do I, so please watch for him in the way of danger.”
 
Mockingbird then began speaking to her people in Tiantan, as did Hawkeye, calling them forth, around the huge pit of fire.  She looked concerned, in her eyes, as there were a few children hanging around Sash’s feet.
“Please, tell me of the situation, and I will share it with my people.  There are no secrets here.”
Sash cleared his throat and began to rotate to his awaiting crowd.
“The nervousness you feel in the woods is a sign of a growing danger.  There are forces
at work that have been in motion before any of your people were here in these woods or any other woods in the world.  Three ancient beings are preparing for a journey across our world.  Once every thousand years, it takes place.  If they find any abominations on their trip, they will release their wrath upon these lands.  If not, and all is good in the woods and waters of this world, they will bless every living thing residing in nature and civilization.  People like yourselves need to keep doing what you are doing on a daily basis and continue to care for these lands and they will be blessed.  Your courageous leader, Eyes of a Hawk, is going with me to stop a very bad man, or giant, should I say, from corrupting what you and I have helped maintain.  We are going on a journey to save our way of life.  I thank you for your hospitality tonight, as we will leave on a rough journey in the morning.”
 
Mockingbird finished up translating all of what Sashrala had said and then in unison, the whole tribe spoke these words: “Desala baco wit.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
           
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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