Prologue Blood of Idhun

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stardog911
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Prologue Blood of Idhun

Post by stardog911 » February 16th, 2010, 3:27 pm

Thanks for the previous comments, here is hopefully my final edit. See how you like it. And please feel free to shred!
:)


The cloaked figure moved silently through the twilight paths of Liberty Park. He was just another shadow, blending among the deepening gloom of early evening. He easily slipped unnoticed by the addicts and dealers skulking along the walks.
Barong felt at ease, no one ever noticed him here, too absorbed in their own drug induced worlds. These woodlands were so beautiful by the light of day, but touched by the Dark One after dusk. Barong was aware that the twilight parks were Jian’s favorite places to meet. She relished the suffering and despondency found here, pure testimony of the Heru Mori’s ever increasing touch on the mortal world.
He scanned all around as he made his purposeful way to the meeting place. His attention caught and lingered on a man barely covered by tattered, dirty clothes.
Voice unsteady and reaching hand shaking, he was obviously high on some kind of drug. Fascination writ across a face that told of years of suffering, eyes held by a green skinned fairy dancing in front of him. She slipped just out of reach, teasing him.
“You see that?” Wide eyed, words slurred, he nudged the man sitting beside him on the bench.
The other man gave him a look of disgust, clutching a paper bag tightly to his chest, he turned away mumbling to himself. “Crazy addicts.”
The fairy giggled while dancing closer once more, brushing gossamer wings against him. Stepping away from the bench, he followed her. Dancing around him, slowly at first she quickened her pace. He spun trying to follow her increasingly intricate dance, losing his balance and falling in the dirt. The fairy laughed uproariously then flew off down the path. No doubt, she was searching for another helpless victim to torment. Fairies were the Heru Mori’s agents and found great joy in tormenting mortals.
Barong thought of Ruibeth. She was a fey who found it particularly fascinating to haunt the Ogden City Cemetery. She found humor in pretending to be a young girl who had been suddenly killed while waiting on a corner for her ride. She stayed hidden until someone pulled up to the girl’s grave and flashed their lights three times. She would then appear as an ethereal being, gliding towards the waiting car. Most mortals sensed the imminent danger she posed and took off at a run, but a few stayed too long. She gave those few a taste of pleasure beyond imagining, none had survived thus far. Their souls eternally belonged to the Heru Mori.
Shaking off thoughts of Ruibeth, Barong continued down the path, confident that no one would dare molest him. He was after all a Sikil, one of Jian’s elite assassins. All of the fey feared him and his like. Slipping between two closely spaced trees, he paused and glanced back, making sure no mortal was looking. Gathering power, he surrounded himself with fairy glamour, hiding himself.
A word of power opened the doorway hidden between the trees. Thick smoke and the smell of unwashed bodies assailed his keen elven nose as he entered the tavern within. The door closed tightly behind him, disappearing as if it had never been.
An ear splitting howl of rage was the only warning before a dark shape flew by Barong and crashed into the wall beside the door. A tough looking female hobgoblin shouted curses at the shape lying on the floor.
“You spill my drink, stupid dog!”
The dark shape on the floor slowly stood, unfolding to reveal a Lycan in half form. He looked at the hobgoblin, curling his lip back in a feral snarl. He shook his upper body like a dog, dark ichor spattered across the floor from a gash on his arm.
Barong ignored them, knowing they wouldn’t see him unless he chose to drop the glamour surrounding him. He made his way between the tables filled with fey, across the common area to the private rooms housed at the back. The one he was to meet would be in there.
**
Jian observed intently through a one way mirror built into the wooden wall. Waiting. She enjoyed her trips to slums such as this, the suffering and despondency she saw along the way only adding to her happiness. Sometimes she was able to find a new guard, one with just the right amount of cruelty to serve her nefarious purposes. Today that was a bonus. She had come to meet Barong, the most elite of her assassins. He had found out something about the girl. Her eyes drew to the fight in the common area as she waited. Impatiently.
The Lycan in the other room snarled and leaped deftly across the room sending tables airborne. The enraged hobgoblin crashed gracelessly from the other side to meet him. Her powerful hands grabbed the Lycan mid-flight, slamming him to the floor and causing spittle to blast out of his mouth at the impact. With great difficulty and exertion, he twisted around in the hobgoblin’s grip locking his razor sharp teeth into the thick muscles between her shoulder and neck. The hob’s viscous, black blood started to stream out of the Lycan’s mouth. He dug his teeth deeper into her flesh and tried hard not to choke on the foul liquid.
She’s a tough one this hobgoblin.
Jian inhaled deeply, catching the dank, musty scent of the hob’s blood mixing with the resin smell of the Lycan, both almost overpowered by the pungent smell of sweat and unwashed bodies. The scents carried to her sharp, elven nose by the smoke that drifted through the minute cracks in the walls of the private room.
The hobgoblin gritted her teeth but didn’t scream as her muscles strained and flexed, forcing the Lycan’s mouth to open wider and wider, locking him to her. Holding him close, the hobgoblin ran at the wall, slamming the Lycan’s head between the hard surface and her steely muscles. A loud crack sounded as his jaw broke, causing him to howl in pain. The hobgoblin rained blows down upon the trapped Lycan, frothy red blood fell from his mouth and dripped off his flaccid jaw.
Cracked ribs. Probably a punctured lung. She’ll win this fight. Jian smiled spitefully at the Lycan’s pain.
The hobgoblin, sensing victory, wrapped her arms around his chest trying to crush the air from his body. When that didn’t work, her gnarled, calloused hands beat and pummeled the sides of the Lycan’s head as she held him trapped against the wall. The blows sounded like a hammer on wood.
Shaking her head, Jian looked towards the heavily built door to her private room and realized that the sound was coming from there and not from out in the common area. She chided herself for getting distracted. Barong had finally arrived.
“Enter.” She turned her eyes back to the entertainment in the tavern. The door opened silently, seemingly on its own. The air shimmered and swirled then coalesced into the shape of a man. The darkly shrouded figure soundlessly entered the room. Shadows seemed to be drawn to him, gathering close.
On closer perusal, his cloak appeared to be formed of thick mist and the material of the rest of his clothing was dark and smeared with grey. All combined to aid in the illusion of shadows. The cloak was a gift from the Dark Lord himself for his chosen and had been useful on many wicked occasions.
“Report.” Her words were curt yet haunting. Barong paused at the beauty of it. To some her voice was reminiscent of panpipes heard on the wind, to others, it was the imagined sound of death before it claimed its prize.
“She soon returns to our ancestral lands, Milady.” In contrast, the voice of her contact was rough, like listening to a Stone-Eater Troll chew a piece of granite; ever-lasting evidence of a run in with a cave beast.
“And?” Thinly veiled annoyance laced her voice, her eyes never leaving the scene in the common room.
“I was finally able to find where they have kept her hidden all this time.” He paused dramatically, trying to draw the moment out and maybe get under Jian’s tough skin just a little. Her eyes flashed quickly at him and the dark look made him think better of his decision. He hurriedly spoke. “They’re in Seattle, Washington.”
A sinister smile formed at Jian’s delicate mouth. “We can finally be done with this once and for all. I can rid myself of Tel Tinu en’Meiva, tipping the scales in our favor so that our Dark Queen will rule supreme. The balance of power will shift and the Dark Lord will gain a greater foothold here, his bonds grow ever weaker.” Hatred gleamed in her eyes at the thought of the Council of Light’s Daughter of Balance.
“What would you have me do Milady?”
“Go there. Watch and wait and when the time comes, strike. Make sure you eliminate her before she can return.”
“As you wish. I will go and do as you command.” Jian shifted her eyes to watch her Sikil leave.
“Oh, and Barong?” He paused with a hand on the door.
“Yes Milady?”
“I don’t need to remind you that failure is not an option.”
“No, Milady. I will not fail you. As in the past, I will successfully do as you have commanded.” Arrogance colored his voice and Barong bowed to Jian as he left the room.
She sat thoughtfully, staring at the door as he left. Reaching up, she brushed the crimson, fine-cut jewel in her ear.
“Master?” Her tone was deferential.
Well done Jian. The silken voice whispered in her ear. You will be greatly rewarded by the Talant Elen when all of this is done.
Silence stretched after this announcement and disappointment began to well within her that she would receive no immediate reward. She waited impatiently through the long silence that seemed to stretch to infinity.
It was finally broken by the voice of the one she served.
Do you deserve a reward right now Jian?
“Yes Master, I have done well.” Her answer was only slightly pleading.
Very well, here is but a small taste of the rewards that await you.
Relief washed over her and her anxiety subsided. Leaning back on her divan, the heat from the drug slid through her blood stream and along her nerve endings as she received her sweet payment. She pressed deeper into the cushioned arm to better enjoy the sensation of liquid fire coursing through her veins. She looked out of the window in the wall one last time noticing that the werewolf, even though his bottom jaw hung limply, had won. He was standing triumphant over the lifeless body of the female hobgoblin.
She had thought for sure the hob was going to win this one, but no matter, even she could be wrong once in a long while. She would have to recruit that Lycan, later.
Jian closed her eyes listening to the fading cheers and catcalls of the other patrons thrumming against the wall as the throbbing that coursed through her veins took her more fully. This was a dangerous place to be left unprotected while in the grip of such euphoria.
“Vera tel’Seldarine.” And with a flick of her wrist she set a Tesla-ward of protection on the door.
Anyone trying to enter, she mused, would be terribly shocked. Jian’s evil chuckle at her clever pun was cut off abruptly as her limbs stiffened with the ecstasy caused by the drug singing through her.
She relaxed her beautiful elven body, hood thrown back as she enjoyed the waves of bliss breaking over her body. Hair, forming a golden cascade over the arm of the well-worn divan, delicately pointed ears peeking out of the strands, one sporting a deep red jewel that seemed to shift and pulse in the low light of the room. Her features were fine, cheek bones sharp. Eyes slightly almond shaped, closed lids hiding gold ringed, grey beauty. Jian’s limbs were long and shapely, and her fingers were tipped by nails shaped to razor sharpness and painted jet black. She was a picture of moonlight beauty and malevolent hidden danger.
Jian’s unshakable loyalty was to the Talant Elen, her Dark Lord who was the Fallen Star. She would stop at nothing to ensure that he was released from his bonds and ruled the world. For eternity!



Thanks ahead of time for the critiques!
Last edited by stardog911 on April 10th, 2010, 8:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Lunetta22
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun(shred away!)

Post by Lunetta22 » February 17th, 2010, 5:04 pm

stardog911 wrote:Thanks everyone for shredding my query, please let me know if the latest revision is good or not.
Here is the prologue for my story.Not sure if I want to begin it here or not. Let me know and please shred away! lol


The clink of glass and drone of muted conversation could be heard from the common area of the tavern as the dark, female figure sat deep in thought. This is a pretty long sentence. I'd put a period after the tavern. THen have hte next sentence be something like "A dark, female figure sat deep in thought..Shadows seemed to gather and coalesce around her, shrouding her in gloom. Her cloak appeared to be formed of thick mist where as the material of the rest of her clothing was dark and smeared with grey, so as to aid in the illusion of shadows.

The pungent smell of sweat and unwashed bodies was carried to her sharp, elven nose on the smoke that drifted through the minute cracks in the walls of the private room. Jian observed intently through a one way mirror built into the wooden wall waiting for Barong, the most elite of her assassins, to arrive. The Sikil were Jian’s private army, they waged her war in the shadows. They were known for their ruthlessness and efficiency.

On occasion Jian came to slums such as this, to find a new guard with just the right amount of cruelty to serve her nefarious purposes. As she scanned the common area beyond, a tough looking, female hobgoblin suddenly bellowed in rage. A dark form sailed across the room to hit the adjacent wall with a resounding thud. An ebon-furred werewolf had knocked over the hob’s drink.
He stood up and shook his upper body like a dog. Dark ichor spattered across the floor from a gash as he shook out his injured arm. Jian closed her eyes and drew a deep breath, inhaling the sharp, pine resin scent of his blood.

The Lycan snarled and leaped deftly across the room sending tables airborne. The enraged hobgoblin crashed gracelessly from the other side to meet him. Her powerful hands grabbed the Lycan mid-flight, slamming him to the floor and causing spittle to blast out of his mouth at the impact. With great difficulty and exertion, he twisted around in the hobgoblin’s grip locking his razor sharp teeth into the thick muscles between her shoulder and neck. The hob’s viscous, black blood started to stream out of the Lycan’s mouth. He dug his teeth deeper into her flesh and tried hard not to choke on the foul liquid. I'd be temped to start the story with this paragraph. It's more exciting than Jian just sitting there.

She’s a tough one this hobgoblin.

Jian inhaled deeply, catching the dank, musty scent of the hob’s blood mixing with the resin smell of the Lycan.
The hobgoblin gritted her teeth but didn’t scream as her muscles strained and flexed, forcing the Lycan’s mouth to open wider and wider, locking him to her. Holding him close, the hobgoblin ran at the wall, slamming the Lycan’s head between the hard surface and her steely muscles. A loud crack sounded as his jaw broke, causing him to howl in pain. The hobgoblin rained blows down upon the trapped Lycan, frothy red blood fell from his mouth and dripped off his flaccid jaw.

Cracked ribs. Probably punctured a lung. She’ll win this fight. Jian smiled spitefully at the Lycan’s pain.

The hobgoblin, sensing victory, wrapped her arms around his chest trying to crush the air from his body. When that didn’t work, her gnarled, calloused hands beat and pummeled the sides of the Lycan’s head as she held him trapped against the wall. The blows sounded like a hammer on wood.

Shaking her head, Jian looked towards the heavily built door to her private room and realized that the sound was coming from there and not from out in the common area. She chided herself for getting distracted.

“Enter.” She turned her eyes back to the entertainment in the tavern even as the darkly shrouded figure silently entered the room. A cloak the same as Jian’s, caused mist to swirl around his feet as he walked, and gather more thickly around his upper body. The cloaks were gifts from the Dark Lord himself for his chosen and had been useful on many wicked occasions.

“Report.” Her words were curt yet haunting. The silent figure paused at the beauty of it. To some her voice was reminiscent of panpipes heard on the wind, to others, it was the imagined sound of death before it claimed its prize.

“She returns soon Milady.” In contrast, the voice of her contact was rough, like listening to a Stone-Eater Troll chew a piece of granite; ever-lasting evidence of a run in with a Roper.

“And?” Thinly veiled annoyance laced her voice, her eyes never leaving the scene in the common room.

“I was finally able to trace where they have kept her hidden all this time.” He paused dramatically, trying to draw the moment out and maybe get under Jian’s tough skin just a little. Her eyes flashed quickly at him and the dark look made him think better of his decision as he hurriedly spoke. “They’re in Seattle, Washington.”

A sinister smile formed at Jian’s delicate mouth. “We can finally be done with this once and for all. We can rid ourselves of Tel Tinu en’Meiva and have one of our own rule in her stead. The balance of power will shift more fully in our favor and the Dark Lord will gain a greater foothold here, his bonds grow ever weaker.” Hatred gleamed in her eyes at the thought of the Council of Light’s Daughter of Balance.

“What would you have me do Milady?”

“Go there. Watch and wait and when the time comes, strike. Make sure you eliminate her before she can return.”

“As you wish. I will go and do as you command.”

Jian shifted her eyes to watch her Sikil leave.

“Oh, and Barong?” He paused with a hand on the door.

“Yes Milady?”

“I don’t need to remind you that failure is not an option.”

“No, Milady. I will not fail you. As in the past, I will successfully do as you have commanded.” Arrogance colored his voice and Barong bowed to Jian as he left the room.

She sat thoughtfully, staring at the door as he walked away. Reaching up, she brushed the crimson, fine-cut jewel in her ear.

“Master?” Her tone was deferential.

Well done Jian. A silken voice whispered in her ear. You will be greatly rewarded by the Talant Elen when all of this is done.

Silence stretched after this announcement and disappointment began to well within her that she would receive no immediate reward. She waited impatiently through the long silence that seemed to stretch to infinity.

It was finally broken by the voice of the one she served.

Do you deserve a reward right now Jian?

“Yes Master, I have done well.” Her answer was only slightly pleading.

Very well, here is but a small taste of the rewards that await you.

Relief washed over her and her anxiety subsided. Leaning back on her divan, the heat from the drug slid through her blood stream and along her nerve endings and she received her sweet payment. She pressed deeper into the cushioned arm to better enjoy the sensation of liquid fire coursing through her veins. She looked out of the window in the wall one last time noticing that the werewolf, even though his bottom jaw hung limply, had won and was standing triumphant over the lifeless body of the female hobgoblin.

She had thought for sure the hob was going to win this one, but no matter, even she could be wrong once in a long while. She would have to recruit that Lycan, later.

Jian closed her eyes listening to the fading cheers and catcalls of the other patrons thrumming against the wall as the throbbing that coursed through her veins took her more fully. This was a dangerous place to be left unprotected while in the grip of such euphoria.

“Vera tel’Seldarine.” And with a flick of her wrist she set a Tesla-ward of protection on the door.

Anyone trying to enter, she mused, would be terribly shocked. Jian’s evil chuckle at her clever pun was cut off abruptly as her limbs stiffened with the ecstasy caused by the drug singing through her.

If anyone were to look in at this private moment, they would see a beautiful elven woman reclining on a well-worn divan, her hood thrown back as she enjoyed the waves of bliss breaking over her body. Her hair formed a golden cascade over the arm of the low couch and delicately pointed ears could be seen peeking out of the strands, one sporting a deep red jewel that seemed to shift and pulse in the low light of the room. Her features were fine, her cheek bones sharp, and her eyes slightly almond shaped, closed lids hiding their gold ringed, grey beauty. Jian’s limbs were long and shapely, and her fingers were tipped by nails shaped to razor sharpness and painted jet black. She was a picture of moonlight beauty and malevolent hidden danger.

Jian’s loyalty to the Heru Mori, the Talant Elen, her Dark Lord who was the Fallen Star, was unshakable. She would stop at nothing to ensure that he was released from his bonds and ruled the world. For eternity!

You write well, and I like your descriptions. A few of your sentences are too long, however. I read the query but didn't critique becuase I'm not very good at those. From what I remember thought, is't modern day and starts with a girl going home to her grandmothers. I do like that these strange medieval characters are in this tavern and seattle washington is metioned. But I almost wonder if it would be better to start with chapter one, to keep the mystery alive longer. Just a thought.


Thanks ahead of time for the critiques!

stardog911
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun(shred away!)

Post by stardog911 » February 17th, 2010, 10:15 pm

Thanks Lunetta! I have read over the prologue so many times that I wasn't sure if it sounded good anymore. =)
I know what you mean about the sentences, my husband edits for me and he has this thing about hating periods.lol Now as for the mystery, do you mean about it being in Seattle? Let me know. Thanks!

stardog911
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun revised (shred away!)

Post by stardog911 » February 24th, 2010, 2:55 pm

k revision done. see if it reads better and more exciting right from the begining!

stardog911
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun revised (shred away!)

Post by stardog911 » February 26th, 2010, 12:48 am

Had three people finish reading the whole book and good reviews from everyone. :) See if this reads better!

stardog911
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun (shred away!)

Post by stardog911 » March 12th, 2010, 4:03 pm

I rehauled the prologue and added more detail. shred away!

stardog911
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun

Post by stardog911 » April 10th, 2010, 8:45 pm

hopefully final edit of my prologue. let me know how it feels.

LeeLKrecklow
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun

Post by LeeLKrecklow » April 14th, 2010, 2:21 pm

I like what you're doing. I'm not a Fantasy fan, myself, but I can offer some feedback on style.

First, I happen to like long sentences, so I respectfully disagree with the commenter who suggested chopping them up. That being said, long sentences are tricky and require perfect rhythm and cadence, and an exceptional continuity of thought. If you find yourself running into issues with readers who lose your train of thought before the reach the end of a line, I wouldn't suggest always running to the period; play around with your words and semicolons and commas, oh my.

The other thing that occurred to me is that I think you use too many adjectives. So many of the nouns in your sentences have descriptors that it gets a bit thick. It also may cause you to use the same words over and over, which will cause them to lose their meaning; I see some repetition already in this prologue. Thin them out a bit, and I think what you end up with will ready more cleanly and be more powerful.

Good luck. Thanks for posting. Let me know if you have any questions.

stardog911
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun

Post by stardog911 » April 15th, 2010, 1:31 am

Thanks for the feedback Lee. I'll go back through, keeping your suggestions in mind. Will re-post in a few days. BTW my husband is gonna love your post!
;D

stardog911
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Re: Prologue Blood of Idhun

Post by stardog911 » May 29th, 2010, 3:56 am

Revision

The cloaked figure moved through the twilight paths of Liberty Park, just another shadow, blending among the gloom of early evening. With little effort, he slipped unnoticed by the addicts and dealers skulking along the walks.

Barong felt at ease here, no one ever noticed him, too absorbed in their drug induced worlds. These woodlands were so beautiful by the light of day, but touched by the Dark Lord after dusk. Barong was aware that the twilight parks were Jian’s favorite places to meet. She relished the suffering and despondency found here, pure testimony of the Heru Mori’s ever increasing touch on the mortal world.

He scanned all around, making his purposeful way to the meeting place. His attention caught and lingered on a man barely covered by tattered and dirty clothes. Barong felt only a twinge of pity, having eradicated all such feelings long ago.
Voice unsteady, reaching hand shaking, the man was obviously high on some kind of drug. Fascination writ across a face that told of years of suffering, eyes held by a green skinned fairy dancing in front of him. She slipped just out of reach, teasing him.

“You see that?” Words slurred, he nudged the man sitting beside him on the bench.

The other man clutched a paper bag tightly to his chest and turned away mumbling to himself. “Crazy addicts.”

The fairy giggled while dancing closer once more, brushing gossamer wings against him. Stepping away from the bench, he followed her. Dancing around him, slowly at first she quickened her pace. He spun trying to follow her increasingly intricate dance, losing his balance and falling in the dirt. The fairy laughed uproariously then flew off down the path. No doubt, she was searching for another helpless victim to torment. Fairies were the Heru Mori’s agents and found great joy in tormenting mortals.

Barong thought of Ruibeth. She had made a name for herself haunting the Ogden Cemetery.

Barong continued down the path, confident that no one would dare molest him. He was after all a Sikil, one of Jian’s elite assassins. All of the fey feared him and his like. Slipping between two closely spaced trees, he paused and glanced back, making sure no mortal was looking. Gathering power, he surrounded himself with fairy glamour, hiding.

A word of power opened the doorway hidden between the trees. Thick smoke and the smell of unwashed bodies assailed his keen elven nose as he entered the tavern within. The door closed tightly behind him, disappearing as if it had never been.
An ear splitting howl of rage was the only warning before a dark shape flew by Barong and crashed into the wall beside the door. A tough looking female hobgoblin shouted curses at the shape lying on the floor.

“You spill my drink, stupid dog!”

The dark shape on the floor slowly stood, unfolding to reveal a Lycan in half form. He looked at the hobgoblin, curling his lip back in a feral snarl. He shook his upper body like a dog, dark ichor spattering across the floor from a gash on his arm.
Barong ignored them, knowing they wouldn’t see him unless he chose to drop the glamour surrounding him. He made his way between the tables filled with fey, across the common area to the private rooms housed at the back. The one he was to meet would be in there.

**

Jian observed intently through a one way mirror built into the wooden wall. Waiting. She enjoyed her trips to slums such as this, the suffering and despondency she saw along the way only adding to her pleasure. Sometimes she was able to find a new guard, one with just the right amount of cruelty to serve her purposes. Today that would be a bonus. She had come to meet Barong. He had finally discovered something about the girl. Her eyes drew to the fight in the common area as she waited. Impatiently.

The Lycan in the other room snarled and leaped deftly across the room sending tables airborne. The enraged hobgoblin crashed from the other side to meet him. Her powerful hands grabbed the Lycan mid-flight, slamming him to the floor and causing spittle to blast out of his mouth at the impact. With great difficulty and exertion, he twisted around in the hobgoblin’s grip locking his razor sharp teeth into the thick muscles between her shoulder and neck. The hob’s viscous, black blood started to stream out of the Lycan’s mouth. He dug his teeth deeper into her flesh and tried hard not to choke on the foul liquid.

She’s a tough one this hobgoblin.

Jian inhaled deeply, catching the dank, musty scent of the hob’s blood mixing with the resin smell of the Lycan, both almost overpowered by the pungent smell of sweat and unwashed bodies. The scents carried to her by the smoke that drifted through the minute cracks in the walls of the private room.

The hobgoblin gritted her teeth but didn’t scream as her muscles strained and flexed, forcing the Lycan’s mouth to open wider and wider, locking him to her. Holding him close, the hobgoblin ran at the wall, slamming the Lycan’s head between the hard surface and her steely muscles. A loud crack sounded as his jaw broke, causing him to howl in pain. The hobgoblin rained blows down upon the trapped Lycan. Frothy red blood fell from his mouth and dripped off his flaccid jaw.

Cracked ribs. Probably a punctured lung. She’ll win this fight. Jian smiled spitefully at the Lycan’s pain.

The hobgoblin, sensing victory, wrapped her arms around his chest trying to crush the air from his body. When that didn’t work, her gnarled, calloused hands beat and pummeled the sides of the Lycan’s head as she held him trapped against the wall. The blows sounded like a hammer on wood.

Shaking her head, Jian looked towards the heavily built door to her private room and realized that the sound was coming from there and not from out in the common area. She chided herself for getting distracted. Barong had finally arrived.

“Enter.” She turned her eyes back to the entertainment in the tavern. The door opened silently, seemingly on its own. The air shimmered and swirled then coalesced into the shape of a man. The cloaked figure soundlessly entered the room. Shadows seemed to be drawn to him, gathering close.

On closer perusal, his cloak appeared to be formed of thick mist and the material of the rest of his clothing was dark and smeared with grey. All combined to aid in the illusion of shadows. The cloak was a gift from the Dark Lord himself for his chosen and had been useful on many... occasions.

“Report.” Her words were curt yet haunting. Barong paused at the beauty of it. To some her voice was reminiscent of panpipes heard on the wind, to others, it was the imagined sound of death before it claimed its prize.

“She soon returns to our ancestral lands, Milady.” In contrast, the voice of her contact was rough, like listening to a Stone-Eater Troll chew a piece of granite; ever-lasting evidence of a run in with a cave beast.

“And?” Thinly veiled annoyance laced her voice, her eyes never leaving the scene in the common room.

“I was finally able to find where they have kept her hidden all this time.” He paused dramatically, trying to draw the moment out and maybe get under Jian’s tough skin just a little. Her eyes flashed quickly at him and the dark look made him think better of his decision. He hurriedly spoke. “They’re in Seattle, Washington.”

A sinister smile formed at Jian’s delicate mouth. “We can finally be done with this once and for all. I can rid myself of Tel Tinu en’Meiva, tipping the scales in our favor so that our Dark Queen will rule supreme. The balance of power will shift and the Dark Lord will gain a greater foothold here, his bonds grow ever weaker.” Hatred gleamed in her eyes at the thought of the Council of Light’s Daughter of Balance.

“What would you have me do Milady?”

“Go there. Watch and wait and when the time comes, strike. Make sure you eliminate her before she can return.”

“As you wish. I will go and do as you command.” Jian shifted her eyes to watch her Sikil leave.

“Oh, and Barong?” He paused with a hand on the door.

“Yes Milady?”

“I don’t need to remind you that failure is not an option.”

“No, Milady. I will not fail you. As in the past, I will successfully do as you have commanded.” Arrogance colored his voice
and Barong bowed to Jian as he left the room.

She sat thoughtfully, staring at the door as he left. Reaching up, she brushed the crimson, fine-cut jewel in her ear.

“Master?” Her tone was deferential.

Well done Jian. The silken voice whispered in her ear. You will be greatly rewarded by the Talant Elen when all of this is done.

Silence stretched after this announcement and disappointment began to well within her that she would receive no immediate reward. She waited impatiently through the long silence that seemed to stretch to infinity. It was finally broken by the voice of the one she served.

Do you deserve a reward right now Jian?

“Yes Master, I have done well.” Her answer was only slightly pleading.

Very well, here is but a small taste of the rewards that await you.

Relief washed over her and her anxiety subsided. Leaning back on her divan, the heat from the drug slid through her blood stream and along her nerve endings as she received her sweet payment. She pressed deeper into the cushioned arm to better enjoy the sensation of liquid fire coursing through her veins. She looked out of the window in the wall one last time noticing that the werewolf, even though his bottom jaw hung limply, had won. He was standing triumphant over the lifeless body of the female hobgoblin.

She had thought for sure the hob was going to win this one, but no matter, even she could be wrong once in a long while. She would have to recruit that Lycan, later.

Jian closed her eyes listening to the fading cheers and catcalls of the other patrons thrumming against the wall as the throbbing that coursed through her veins took her more fully. This was a dangerous place to be left unprotected while in the grip of such euphoria.

“Vera tel’Seldarine.” And with a flick of her wrist she set a Tesla-ward of protection on the door.

Anyone trying to enter, she mused, would be terribly shocked. Jian’s evil chuckle at her clever pun was cut off abruptly as her limbs stiffened with the ecstasy caused by the drug singing through her.

She relaxed her beautiful elven body, hood thrown back as she enjoyed the waves of bliss breaking over her body. Hair, forming a golden cascade over the arm of the well-worn divan, delicately pointed ears peeking out of the strands, one sporting a deep red jewel that seemed to shift and pulse in the low light of the room. Her features were fine, cheek bones sharp. Eyes slightly almond shaped, closed lids hiding gold ringed, grey beauty. Jian’s limbs were long and shapely, and her fingers were tipped by nails shaped to razor sharpness and painted jet black. She was a picture of moonlight beauty and malevolent hidden danger.

Jian’s unshakable loyalty was to the Talant Elen, her Dark Lord who was the Fallen Star. She would stop at nothing to ensure that he was released from his bonds and ruled the world. For eternity!

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