Wolf-anthro's - Susuv (su - suv)
Lizard-anthro's - Ekifir (ek - eh - ef - ir)
Lynx-anthro's - Neko (ne - ko)
Eagle-anthro's - Washi (va - sha - e)
Bear-anthro's - Uthio (u - te - o)
A shortish teaser of the series. More for writing development, such as description and scene changes.
Comments are greatly appreciated, and highly desired ^.^
'Telepathy between characters'
// *** /// *** // = End Chapter
* * * = Perspective/Time Change
// // = Scene Change
Kingdom of Achoel
Glancing through the narrow slits of a steel helm, verdant-green eyes looked over to the warriors next to him. Wolf ears twitched under the confines of the the helm, trying to understand the orders being shouted. Leveling his shield before him and leaning into it, he raised his meter-and-a-half blade with his right hand, point facing in front of him.
He heard a faint shout of "BRACE!" and he planted his booted paws into the ground. Not a moment later, a powerful force slammed into him, pushing the him back and leaving a gouge in the ground. He gave a deep growl and pushed back even harder, slamming his shield against the oncoming force. The blade jabbed forward and he felt it pierce flesh. He brought it back, the coppery smell of blood permeating the air, and smashed his shield in front of him again.
He got a good look at his foe. A brown Susuv armored in a chain-mail hauberk and armed with a flimsy wood shield but wicked looking meter-and-a-half blade stared back at him, battle lust clear in his eyes. The brown Susuv roared his battle-yell and while charging, raised his blade over his head. Counter-charging forward, the green-eyed Susuv used his shield to glance the blow to the side while he brought his blade up. The brown wolf grunted as he exhaled his last breath.
Drawing his blade out of the body, he brought his shield into position again. He heard an order being shouted, "REFORM! Reform the lines!" Risking a glance back, the warrior saw a grey Susuv pointing from atop his armored steed. Both were covered in silver plate-armor that was inscribed with runes and glyphs. "Paladins! Brace!"
Quickly turning his attention back to the battle before him, the Knight made ready. Another order came, this time from far off to the Knight's left "Avengers! On me! Charge!" The expected slam of shields never came, and the green-eyed knight risked a glance over his shield.
The enemy forces were in full route, two-dozen mounted Knights charging through the enemy ranks. They were armored in similar armor to the commander, although it was made of the much more dull steel, rather than silver. His comrades started cheering and he soon joined them, sword held high as he shouted to the sky in victory.
* * *
Of all the damnable luck, the green-eyed knight grimaced as he held down one of his brothers-in-arms. An Ekifir Healer stood over the wounded soldier, hands held to the wound. It was almost an hour since the fight had ended, but the battle was not yet over.
"YEAGGGG!!!" The dappled-brown Susuv cried out in pain as the Healer set the bone.
"Dammit Eld'rair! Why can't you dull his pain?!" He shouted at the mage over the cries of pain.
"Itss not as eassy to usse mageek as it soundss." the lizard retorted in a whispering-hissing tone, his accent strong. "Hiss bone musst be set 'efore I cans mends it." Beads of sweat were rolling down his light-brown scales as he worked, showing his exhaustion.
The knight backed off and silently held the warrior down. Soon enough the cries of pain became mumbles, then snores as the warrior fell asleep. Releasing his grip, the Knight looked at the other wounded in the tent.
Two other Healers, one a green-scaled Ekifir and one a deep-brown Susuv, were walking in-between the dozen severely wounded soldiers in the tent. Sometimes they stopped and muttered a few words, a small light glowing in their hands. Whenever they did so, the look of pain on the soldiers face would fade.
"Serr now," Eld'rair said, wiping his bloody hands on his already red robes. "Sso longs as he sstayss offs hiss legss for a day or two, he'lls be fine." The lizard looked at the others in the tent and he gave a deep sigh. He gestures out, "Afters you, dear ssir."
The Knight walked out of the tent and into the clean air of the late-afternoon sun. The lizard followed him out a moment later, stretching his scaled arms. They both heard the shoulder pop as the four-and-a-half foot lizard stretched.
The Ekifir reached up and pulled down his cowl, revealing his face to the sun. He smiled as warmth flooded through his body. Turning to the still helmed Knight, "Whys are you sstill wearing your helm? Takes it off and revel in the warmth of the ssun!" He said, spreading his arms to accentuate his point.
The Knight hesitated for a moment as he looked at the short lizard. Relenting, he bent his head as reached his un-armored hands to his helm. The stifling helm came off with no difficulties, and he threw his head back, a stray bang sticking to his muzzle.
Underneath that helm stood a handsome Susuv. His throat was white, which led all the way to his paws the underside of which were white as well; the rest of him was a dark black, a sharp contrast. His green eyes seemed to shine out from his half-and-half muzzle. His face was somewhat odd, in that the left side of his face was white while the right was black; when they met near the bridge of his muzzle, in-between his eyes, where they swirled together.
His flowing black hair on the top of his head came to shoulder length. Reaching up, he wiped his face from the end of his muzzle to the top of his head, pushing his bangs out of the way. In the same motion he went over the crown of his head, pushing down his ears for a moment, and down the back of his neck and back to the front of his throat.
Eld'rair smiled at the black wolf, glad that his friend no longer looked like a killer. "Now ssee Rukan, let the ssun bath you in her warm embrace." Rukan smiled at his scaly friend and turned his muzzle to the sun, closing his eyes. He let her sweat warmth flow over him, and wash away the worries of the day.
"Hey, Rukan!" The black and white wolf turned as quick as he could, only to see a brown blur as he was scooped up. He gave a startled yelp as he was squeezed by a Uthio. "How you been brother?" The large bear gave a happy growl.
"akc!" Rukastun grunted, while Eld'rair gave a hissing laugh. "Down Moed! Down!" The bear dropped him, and backed up laughing.
The wolf made an exaggerated gasp for breath before starting to laugh himself. He stood up straight and clapped the brown-bear on his armored chest. "haha, brother!" Moed gave a broad grin and placed a huge paw on the wolf head and gave a ruffle.
The bear suddenly turned to the lizard. He gave a wickedly playful grin as he glanced at the wolf. Rukan returned the smile and looked at the robbed lizard. Eld'rair eyes went wide as he held up his hands defensively, "Now, nows my friendss. Don't do ssomething recklessssss!!" He was cut off as the bear picked him up with one arm.
Rukan was laughing at the look on the mage's face until the bear turned to him. He held up a hand and backed up a touch, "Now Moed. You wouldn't." The bear stalked closer, his towering frame holding a struggling Ekifir under his left arm. In one fluid motion, the bear grabbed the black-and-white Susuv under his right arm and stalked off.
Other Paladins, many still in their battle-armor, were watching the three in amusement as they walked through the camp. The Uthio continued on until a brown Susuv, stepped in front of him. The large brown bear stopped and looked down at her.
"And just where are you taking these two?" She asked, looking up at the bear.
"Ma'am!" Rukan said, doing his best to salute. He was failing to look professional at all though, being carried like he was. "We are.... umm...."
"Having a bit of fun?" She said, smiling with amusement. Rukan nodded, and she let out a loud laugh. "I thought I told you to get me when you are having fun with these two." She looked at the bear.
Moed gave a smile back down at her and readjusted his two 'packages.' "I know Kadea. Isn't your tent this way?" He asked.
She gave another laugh. "I guess you're right."
With that, the four of them, two still being carried by the oversized bear, headed down towards the river.
"Magic might flow through everything, and anyone might learn its basic components. There are few who can tap its deeper secrets. Even fewer can even hope to understand its mysteries......" an old Ekifir said, pacing in front of his class. In his withered right hand he held a staff of black-wood carved with the image of a dragons head that he used to lean on with each step. Behind him his flowing navy-blue robes billowed out, his jet-black leggings visible underneath. On his brown-scaled head rested a traditional wizard's hat, bent at the top. His fiery-red eyes seemed to know more than even a being of his age should know.
The class was composed of seven students, all staring with rapt attention at the speaker. Most were writing notes in their leather-bound books, their pencils scratching even while they stared at the teacher. "You have been given an opportunity that few achieve." He stopped, turning to give a hard look to each one in turn, "There is little doubt you will fail eventually. In fact...it is expected." He gave an inward smile at the look of confusion on the faces of the students. "When you fail. That my dear students is when you shall be judged."
He looked to a smokey-grey Susuv that had been standing to the side and nodded sagely. The Susuv gave a wolfish smile and turned to the class, clearing his throat. In a clear, pleasant voice, "The tests are to begin in a few moments. Please follow me." With that he walked out the large oak door in the back of the classroom. The students, quickly gathering their materials, scales and fur rustling in their hurry, made to follow him out.
When the last student left, closing the large door behind her, the old lizard sat down with a deep sigh of relief. He hung his hat on his staff, setting the staff so it leaned on his desk. He waved his hand, which gave a dim glow as it passed through the air, and a bottle of wine floated over to his table. He reached and grasped it, the light shimmer in the air vanishing as he took hold of it.
He reached under his desk at the front of the room and pulled out a small wineglass. Taking a claw, he stabbed the cork in the wine bottle and pulled. pop! He smiled as the seal released, pouring so his glass was half-full with the light-red drink.
He set the bottle back down on the desk and picked up the wineglass, swirling it under his nose to take in the smell. Taking a small sip, he sighed in contentment. "Four-hundred-and-fifty-two. A fine year." Taking another sip, he pulled out a large stack of papers from one of the drawers.
He gave a small growl as he looked them over. "ack. How I wish being Arch-Mage really was all about crafting new spells and fighting demons." He started reading the first paper, still talking to himself, "But no. I'm lucky if I find the time to craft a single spell once a year." He muttered something unintelligible, scribbling something on the paper and setting it aside. "No, I have to deal with all this damnable, bloody paperwork." He signed another paper, taking another sip of his wine.
As he was reading through the papers, he paused. Digging through the pile of papers he had signed, he pulled out a paper. He held it in his left hand, reading it again. Than he read the one in his left. Going back and forth, his brow furrowed in thought.
Standing up, he walked to the map of the kingdom. He placed a hand on the northern part of the map, tracing till he found the town he was looking for. He mumbled something while he traced the road to the coast. His eyes narrowed in thought. Looking back at the papers in his hand, a look of realization came over him.
"Well this is an interesting development," he said quietly. He went back to his desk and pulled out two bars that were tied together with with a delicate golden cord. He pulled them so that the string was taunt. His voice took on a deep drum, as he started chanting his spell.
The area between the batons started to glow, and Er'air gave himself a toothy grin. He recomposed himself as the air wavered. A disembodied voice came first, as the image stabilized. "Thiss is Invoker Sar'ian." There was a small accent, almost imperceptible.
"Ah, good. Just who I was looking for." Er'air said. "I have some information that might interest you, if you have the time."
"Of coursse Arch-Mage." The Ekifir in the panel said, his accent very mild.
"It has come to my attention that there are a series of ruins, about a days travel from your hall." The Arch-Mage picked up a paper, "Outside a village called....Tru'griften." He rustled another paper, "It also says here that there has been calls of Necromancy reported in the area."
Sar'ian's brow furrowed in thought. He glanced to the side before responding, "There are no Mages anywhere near that village. And there are no reportss to ssuggest there is an untrained Mage in that area either."
"hmm," Er'air leaned back in his seat, holding his hands so that his finger-tips were touching. He leaned forward, "It is better safe than sorry. Go and do a sweep. If there isn't anything there, I'll pay for the expenses. If there is, clear them out. I do not like unregulated Necromancers giving the Order a bad name."
"Very well, Arch-Mage." With a final nod, and some curtsies, they Arch-Mage closed the batons and wrapped the cord around them. He placed it back in his desk, staring at the pile of papers he had yet to check.
He gave a deep sigh. Than the pile started to fall. Er'air shouted out as he reached out, but the papers floated to the floor. "Damn it all to hell!" He shouted to the empty room. Grumbling, he started waving his hands, streaks being left by them, as he mumbled a spell. The papers started moving back onto his desk, and the old lizard sighed again.
Grumbling, he sat back down and started working on the papers again. The setting sun lighting the room with her soft light.
The overhanging branches cast deep shadows on the ground as a lone, cloaked figure walked down the path. His steady steps crunched in the semi-frozen ground.
In his hand he had a narrow staff, only the diameter of a a thumb, six inches taller than he was. The figure's body was covered in a cloak, the hood pulled up. Only a small bit of his brown-colored muzzle stuck out, the rest of his face hidden in the shadow of hood.
His cloak fluttered behind him with each step, stirring his under-leggings and the grass as he passed over it. There wasn't any visible weapons that he had on his person, no travel pack on his back. Nothing to make him stand out as he walked down the semi-paved road.
The cloaked Susuv walked like this for hours. He passed the occasional traveler, giving a nod if acknowledged, otherwise ignoring the others on the road.
The sun had set almost an hour ago. The Susuv grumbled to himself when he looked into the almost completely dark sky, "Even the stars are hidden this night. And no moon to grace my path." Sighing, his pace had not varied once.
Soon, he crested another gentle hill. For the first time since he had started that morning, he paused. At the bottom of the hill stood an inn, with sounds of laughter and life coming out of it. The wolf cast his eyes on the wagons that rested near the inn.
"A caravan." He saw a couple of figures checking the horses or watching out into the night. "No doubt they've seen me." He gave a small, short laugh to himself, "As if I'd be a threat to them." He started walking again, intent on getting a decent room for the night.
As he walked towards the inn, a Neko walked out, a pipe in her hand and a match in her other. The cat took a puff of her pipe as she glanced up at the Susuv. Shaking the match to put it out, "It'ss rare to see a travla out afta night." She said, her accent weak but still noticeable.
The Susuv gave a dismissive laugh, "I got a late start this morning. Didn't realize how far it was to Snowhall."
The Neko took another breath of her pipe, exhaling slowly. "Snowhall?" At his hooded nod, she gave an amused laugh, "That's still two days travel from here." She gave him a grin, showing her sharp fangs, "We're headed that-a-way, if you're willing to help out for a day or two."
The Susuv looked at her, "I thought Caravan's didn't accept outsiders."
She gave him a deep laugh, "That's a myth. Sure, there's always that stuck up caravan that does that." She took another puff of her pipe, "Most are willing to take in a traveler for a day or two...if they're willing to work."
The Susuv brought a dappled paw up, rubbing his chin. "I might just take you up on that."
The cat gave a nod, tapping the ashes out of her pipe. "Just gander on in and ask for Shri'rsk. He's the one you want to talk ta."
Another nod and the Susuv opened the door, tipping his staff so that it would fit. Inside the sounds of laughter, the warmth of the fire, the smells of bread and meat, all made the Susuv realize how hungry he was.
Several Neko's were sitting around, many with a drink either in their hands or within arm's reach. Behind the counter a tall (for an Ekifir) lizard stood, laughing as she dispensed out drinks and handed out platters of food.
The wolf reached up a hand, and gently pulled down his hood. His light-blue eyes sparkled in the fire-light, his brown fur seeming to ripple as the shadows danced over it. His ears flattened against his head in an attempt to drown out the loud sounds of the inn. The Ekifir barkeep noticed him, and waved him over. Carefully making his way through the patrons, the Susuv made his way to the bar.
She gave him a big grin, wiping down a glass with her rag. "Good to see something other than these cat's," pointing at the Nekos.
One of them heard her, "Hey now Kasha. I thought you liked us." The black cat leaned on the counter, giving her a grin.
"Now, now Shri'rsk," she gave him a playful tap on his nose, "I'd like you even more if you's brought me some of that Uthio ale."
"Ey now," he brought a claw up in defense, "you know how far it is to Brendal."
"Oh yeah, it's so very far." She gave him a final tap on his black nose before turning to the still standing Susuv. "Still, it is good to see a Susuv. Neko's get so very tiring after a while." Shri'rsk gave a snort, but didn't say anything when Kasha gave him a stare. "So what'll it be?"
The brown Susuv leaned his staff against the counter as he took a seat. "First, something strong. Ale, preferably." Kasha reached under the counter, grabbed a cup and brought up a draft. The Susuv took a deep swig. As he set his cup down, "And second, a room for the night. If there're any left."
The lizard gave a nod, her muddy-brown scales glistening in the fire-light. "Yeah, there's still a room or two left. You'll be wanting one than?"
"Yeah, please," the brown Susuv said as he picked up the cup to take another drink.
"You got it. Top of the stairs, first door on the left." With a wink, Kasha headed over to the black Neko, starting their conversation again.
The Susuv gave a small chuckle before he silenced it with another swig of the strong ale. As he finished his ale, the black Neko returned. He leaned against the counter, looking the brown Susuv over. "huh. I wonder wha she sees in ya."
The Susuv looked at the cat with a questioning look. Setting down the cup, "What'd you mean?"
"Kra'ta, the female you meet outside? Had a pipe?" The look the Neko was giving him was one of exasperation.
"Oh, yeah. You're Shri'rsk than?" He leaned back in his chair a touch.
"The one and only," the cat gave thump on his chest. "Head of the Blackclaw Caravan."
That bit of information made the wolf sit up with attention. "The Blackclaw Caravan?" He asked, to make sure he had heard right. At the black Neko's nod, the brown Susuv sat back again. "I heard you're heading to Snowhall," he glanced at the Neko, "is that true?"
"Ah, yess," the cat gave a knowing grin, scratching the back of his neck, "we're headed that way." He gave a small chuckle, "khekhe, you want to join up with us 'till we hit Snowhall? Not safe to be traveling alone, even in here in Achoel."
The Susuv made a show of pondering, bringing a hand to rub his chin. Smiling, "What's the cost?"
"Eh, just food cost, unless you have your own provisions." When the Susuv nodded, to which the Neko grunted, "Other than that, I'll just be needing your name."
The Susuv closed his blue eyes, taking a breath. "Calen. Just Calen."
"huh." The Neko stuck out a hand. Glancing at it, the brown Susuv took it. "Pleasure to travel wit' ya Calen." The cat turned to walk away, and over his shoulder, "We leave two hours after sunrise. With or without ya."
Calen gave a nod of his brown-furred head, watching as the Neko walked off. He reached into his cloak, bringing out a handful of silver pieces, he counted out seven of them and set them on the counter. With that, he stood up, grabbing his staff, and walked up to his room. He closed the door, and smiled to himself, setting down his candle. "Looks like I'll have some company after all," he said to the empty room. He blew out the candle, showering the room in darkness.
// * * * || * * * //
So how was it? What should I improve on?
As I said, this is a prologue, so there wasn't supposed to be much more than teasers :p
This story, I can claim all characters as mine. If you want to use them, send me a PM first. I highly doubt I'll say no though ^.^