i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
There was never much greenery to be found in a large city. A few trees here and there, a small few patches of grass fenced off where the children sometimes play. Some of the wealthier estates had small gardens with brightly coloured flowers. But for those who wanted to experience nature without going outside of city limits, their options were limited.

There was one such place of refuge – at least for members of Howling Wolves assassin's guild. On the roof of the huge building that served as the hideout to their headquarters, the guild has created their own garden. Using a combination of nature and magic, they grew fruits and vegetables, various herbs for use in making poisons and antidotes, and a few bushes and plants – including batflowers, a plant that looked like it had multiple eyes, and a very large venus flytrap.

Benny could often be found there; when there were no targets for him to take care of and his friends were all safely occupied with other matters. He enjoyed all the noisy and buzzing activity of the city – up to a point. But when they stayed too long, he was overcome with a yearning to be back in the wild; where he could engage in his shapeshifting at will, roll in the grass as a cat, run through the trees as a graceful leopard, or howl at the moon as a wolf. In a world where there were no others like him – and more fear and mistrust than understanding – it was hard to balance his human side with his animal urges.

And even with good friends around him and a lover within the city, sometimes the assassin felt lonely. He would never admit it, even to himself, but it was what it was.


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i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
Given the health issues I have been having and how severe they are, I don't know if I will be able to hold out on writing regularly, but I will be annoyed if I don't give myself a shot.

I am signing up for Last Chance Idol.

Hopefully all you guys on my list will read and vote for me. And if you have always wanted to try taking part in LJ Idol and never have... this is probably the last chance.

(As a random aside, why do my entries show up as locked even when I have set the security to public before posting? It is annoying having to go back to edit them.)
i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
It had been hate at first sight.

From the moment Kane Theaza entered the Howling Wolves assassin's guild, recruited from the streets at twelve summers of age, he found a rival in Jonas. Both the same age, they loathed each other on sight. No one ever really knew why; though it was speculated that Kane was envious of Jonas' relatively stable upbringing within the guild, while Jonas was jealous of Kane's confidence and his ability to fight anyone and anything that got in his way.

“You are such a show-off,” Jonas muttered, having overheard Kane being praised for a nice bit of sword-work.

“And you are a stupid little creep,” the street-boy shot back, “and I know which I would rather be.”

“Your mother was a filthy whore!”

Kane laughed. “You are hardly one to talk. At least I knew who my mother was.”

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i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
“No boss, please – not the chair! I'll do anything, I swear! I'm innocent!”

The young man's panicky pleas could be heard throughout the main floors of the guild headquarters. Assassins paused in their training, those who were sleeping briefly opened their eyes, the ones who were eating stopped in their tracks. Then, registering relief that it wasn't their turn, they resumed their tasks.

“Seems like Lance is in trouble,” Kane Theaza observed, setting down his tankard of ale. “What's going on, Benny?”

The shapeshifter glanced around the table. The only others in attendance were the half-elven assassin Cory and Phellan the young wolf-man; Riandur hated the city and was hunting rats in the catacombs, Jonas was studying scrolls at the library, and Valia had gone shopping. Leaning forward, he lowered his voice.

“You know that smuggling job last night? It was a set-up. The guards got several of our boys and now they are in the city jail.”

“Someone betrayed us?” Cory asked, wide-eyed at the thought that one of their own men would turn against the guild. It was an unwritten but very strong rule that thieves watched out for their own, and backstabbing was never tolerated.

“It looks that way,” Benny said seriously. “The guards knew exactly who was there and what was happening, information that could only have been given to them by someone involved in the planning.”

Kane nodded, pondering this for a while. “What an idiot,” he said finally. “So Randal - ” referring to the cold, calm and highly effective master of the entire guild “- gets to do what he does best, huh? A few minutes on the chair will make them crack.”

Cory nodded, looking terrified. “No one could stay silent when faced with that thing. It is so scary.”

“A chair?” Phellan had been listening intently, but something was puzzling him. “Like what we are sitting on? What is scary about a chair?”

That was quite a question. Every man in the Howling Wolves assassin's guild knew of 'the chair'. Made from solid oak with a straight back and two thick arms, it did not look threatening at a glance. But a closer look would reveal the strong leather wrist and ankle restraints, the adjustable mechanism that could be adjusted so that the sitter could be gagged. Once restrained, varying degrees of torture could be used to encourage the subject to talk.

It had been in the guildmaster's chambers for as long as anyone could remember. They called it 'the confession chair' and many of the men had been subjected to it at one time or another. It was the ultimate punishment.

Kane, Benny and Cory exchanged a long look. “Want to take this one?” Kane directed at Benny.

The long-suffering man only sighed.
i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
Why are we going here? What is a desert? Why is it hot? Doesn't the sun like us? Can I have some water? What is this yellow stuff? Why are we hiding in the dark? Why do they want to kill us?

The Bountiful Bosoms,” she read out loud. “What sort of name for a tavern is that?”
“It’s not a tavern, it’s a whorehouse,” Cory said absently without thinking. He quickly regretted it when Valia turned to him with a horrified expression.
“It’s a brothel?”
At exactly the same moment, he felt a nose nudge at his leg to get his attention. “What is a wh… whorehouse?” Phellan asked. The young wolf-man – new to the ways and the language of humans - had previously been content to lie quietly by Cory’s feet, but hearing a new word had aroused his curiosity too much for him to stay quiet. “Why is it not a tavern?”
“Well, it’s… it is like a tavern, but there are many women in there.” As he stumbled over the words, the half-elven rogue could feel his face heat up with embarrassment. “And those women can be… men give them money and the women do things for the men. Like sexual things.” Seeing that Phellan still looked confused, he added, “You remember when I explained how men and women made children? Well, they do that sort of thing.”

… …

Phellan had been thinking a lot about what Cory had said – it didn't all make sense to him, but he thought that he finally had it figured out. So he waited until the evening when the group had stopped to rest, and then hit Valia with his question.
“Are you a whore?”
Valia looked stunned. Across the camp-fire, Kane started to laugh. Benny raised an eyebrow and looked over at Cory, who hid his face in his hands.
“Where did you learn a word like that?” Kane finally spluttered.
“Well, Cory said that women who don't wear many clothes and who do things for the men are whores. So I thought that Valia must be a whore too, and she might know all about them.”
At this point, the young druid got up and fled into the trees, sobbing loudly. The men watched her go in silence, a silence that was only broken by Benny.
“I think further explanations are needed,” he said with a sigh.

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i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
It had just been innocent fun. Cory and Phellan had not meant to cause any trouble – and yet their inquisitive natures had gotten them into trouble yet again.

“Oh dear,” Phellan said sombrely, as he watched the monkeys they had accidentally released flee from the caravan. “This is bad, isn't it?”


“Hey!” Jonas cried from somewhere outside. “A monkey just stole my staff! Cory – I know this has something to do with you.”

The half elf swallowed nervously. When he spoke, his voice was almost inaudible. “This is very, very bad.”


“Run this past me again,” Jonas said bitterly. “Why do we have to round up these horrible creatures, when it was their fault - ” he glared at Cory and Phellan “ - that they escaped in the first place?”

“Because if we don't deliver seven live monkeys, we don't get paid,” Kane said impatiently. “And I haven't escort this caravan across thirty miles of wilderness just to lose our reward now.”

“But - ”

“Everyone takes one monkey,” Benny suggested, ever the voice of reason. “We need to round them up before they run off too far, or get eaten by wolves or bears. If we take one each, it'll be done in no time and no one will be any the wiser. Hey, think of it as a bit of light relief. We have fought dragons, zombies, vampires and giants recently - so how difficult can capturing a few monkeys be?”

As it turned out, it seemed that he had spoken a little too soon...

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i_love_freddie: (Freddie)
The piece of parchment was pinned right in the middle of the adventurer's guild noticeboard, its placement intentionally obscuring several older jobs. The request was written in bold, strong lettering but it had a rather frantic element to it:

Urgent! My only daughter had been kidnapped by a vampire lord and taken to his castle in Witchwood. Large reward for any adventuring group brave enough to bring her back to me.

“So what is the deal with this one?” Kane Theaza asked the half elf who just happened to be in charge of the guild that day.

“Ah, that one only came in the morning. Lord Elgetor Armorsmith is convinced that his daughter has been kidnapped. She disappeared at some point yesterday evening and then a threatening note was left on her father's doorstep this morning. He is offering a lot of gold, a special weapon from his personal armoury and a plot of farmland to anyone who can find her and bring her back. But Witchwood is reported to be cursed, so I doubt there will be many takers.”

The raven-haired warrior grinned. “Can I see that threatening note?”


Read more... )
i_love_freddie: (Nano)
Keep Calm and...

The most successful adventurers, mercenaries and guild-masters all had one thing in common. Not age, or race, or their basic profession. Not even gender – though women being as good as men at things was still seen as quite surprising. No, each and every one of them had all reached the heights of success by following the unwritten but golden rule: Always keep calm.

Surrounded by monsters? Keep calm. Discovered an assassination plot on your life? Keep calm. Lost in the middle of nowhere and can't find the map? Keep calm. An invisible demon is causing havoc in your guild? Keep calm. Your party wizard just woke up five golems, your thief has his foot caught in a snare, and your ranger just fell down a bottomless pit? Keep calm.

Because in a world where monsters roam freely, bandits launch attacks on unsuspecting travellers, those in a position of power are frequently threatened, and every man must look out for himself... anyone who loses their head in a crisis stands a very good chance of physically losing their head. And no one wants that.


Situation 1 – Keep calm and kill zombies


The shapeshifter was standing quietly at the far edge of the silent market square. Staring into the thick trees that surrounded the border of the town, his head was tilted slightly to the side and he seemed to be listening for something – not even responding to his friends. His expression was tense, wary.

“What is it?” Kane tried again. “Do you hear something?”

Finally Benny acknowledged them, but his first words were not what they wanted to hear. “I think we need to get out of here now.”

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i_love_freddie: (Nano)
“Watch yourself there,” the wolf-man said. Riandur's tone was mild, but there was a thinly veiled threat beneath the surface. “That was a little too close for my liking.”

“Yes, and?” the wizard retorted. “I have to practise, you know.”

“Practise what? I thought that being an idiot just came naturally to you.”

Jonas began to respond, but suddenly thought better of it. “Look, I am trying to concentrate. If you don't like it, go somewhere else.”

“I happen to be on guard duty. Much as I would like to be somewhere else, I can't see Kane or Benny being too happy if you managed to get eaten by monsters or skewed by bandits while everyone else is sleeping. Why don't you move?”

Magic happened to be a very sore spot between the two of them. Riandur's people – the wolf-men tribe from the northern swamplands – feared magical power and shunned it completely. Riandur himself took a slightly more practical view. Having travelled with the group for several months, he had grown to understand that magic could serve a purpose at times. Nonetheless he also recognised it for what it was; a dangerous, unpredictable force that was beyond the ability of man to comprehend. So he remained constantly wary and suspicious of anything or anyone that displayed any kind of magical abilities.

Of course, there was also the little fact that he found Jonas to be an arrogant, over-confident idiot.

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i_love_freddie: (Nano)
“I need a real man.”

Cory glanced down at his plate of uneaten bread and cheese. He had no appetite. All he could think about was her, the beautiful blonde young woman he had met in the marketplace. He had not spoken to her himself, but he had overheard her conversation with her female companion. She was lonely, she stated, and her family were pressuring her to find a husband.

His companions were worried. The half-elf – the youngest member of their small group – was always cheerful and happy. To see him moping around and off his food was strange, to say the least.

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i_love_freddie: (Nano)
What Doesn't Kill You...

It is hard to be the voice of reason, all the time. But that is how things have worked out. There are seven of us; and four of them view me as a father figure. I was partly responsible for training Cory and Jonas, back in the days when I was a teacher in an assassin's guild. And Kane is as much my son as it is possible to be without being related by blood. As for young Valia, her own father used her as bait to carry out a plot for vengeance... so it is hardly surprising that she would look elsewhere for a substitute. And of course, Phellan from the wolf tribe is constantly looking for knowledge and approval – so although I am not his mentor, it is hard not to feel responsible for him as well.

They don't go out of their way to make my life easy. Cory's curious nature constantly lands him in trouble – often Phellan too. Valia can be emotional and struggles being around men all the time, with no other women for company. Kane can only be described as hot-headed, reckless and impulsive. Jonas never quite managed to pick up the skills of getting on with people.

All things considered, it is ironic that the two most stable members of the group – the two of us who keep everything together – are me the so-called 'demonspawn', and Riandur, the stoic and silent wolfman who rejects most elements of human society. He is the one I trust to watch my back... and the one who understands how hard it can be to care for someone.

They are like my children. Sometimes they drive me crazy, but I want to protect them. It is hard, but it is my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.


There are moments when I feel helpless because of events that I was unable to control. When a rash of killings and disappearances broke out in the city – and Valia mysteriously vanished. We tracked her down, of course, and found out that the monster responsible was a lich with a thing for human women. Unfortunately by the time we battled through his hoard of undead creatures, she was naked, bruised and bleeding.

Such things are not uncommon in the life we lead. We all have our scars to bear, both physical and mental. But when brutal things happen to those you care about, you always wonder if there was something else that could have been done. If only we had been faster, if only someone had picked up more clues earlier, if only someone had been with her, if only...

Kane likes to be alone when things get too much – he was an abused child and bottling up emotions is second nature to him. I know where to find him; sitting on the roof of the inn even though the night is cold and rain has started coming down lightly.

“Are you okay?” I ask, settling by his side. He glances over and gives a brief, tight nod. “How is she?”

“Not so good. She won't speak or eat. I don't know what to do. Cory and Phellan are with her now.”

Understandable. As innocent as they are, I doubt that either of them really understand what happened to her; and that is probably for the best. But Cory is very sensitive and they are both caring.

“She is probably in shock. I can't even begin to imagine what she went through”

The raven-haired warrior stared out into the distance, though his eyes saw nothing. “I can. There was blood, Benny, so much blood. She said... something about a knife.” His hands, involuntarily clenched into fists, were shaking. “He branded her... tortured her. I should have been there... I was too late...”

The blame, always the blame. I feel it too – but I am better at hiding it. After all, what will happen if they see me fall apart? “It is not your fault, Kane! The only one to blame is him, and he will suffer for what he did. I swear it.”

That gets him to look at me. “You aren't going after him alone?”

“None of you can fight a lich. And I can't take him on if I am worried about his magic killing you. Leave him to me.”

“That doesn't seem fair,” he mutters, but I can see there will be no real fight from him. “I should be the one to take him down.”

“You know what I think would help more? Go to Val. She needs you, I think being with you will help.”


In the shadows, I watch as he enters the darkened room. She is sitting on the bed, knees drawn up to her chest. Warily Kane approaches her and says something I cannot hear. He reaches for her and finally her tears are released.

It will be hard, but I sense that she will be fine. The scars will heal, in time.

That's the thing about being a in the position of responsibility. You want to wrap them up, keep them close, protect them from the world. But they need to learn. Need to have the freedom to make their own path in life, even if that ultimately leads to suffering. To be broken and then heal... it is the only way to build true strength.

As I ponder the task before me, there is a sudden flash of grey fur and Riandur appears silently at my side. He has watched the events unfold but has said nothing. He doesn't understand human emotions, nor is he big on sympathy. But nonetheless, he is here.

“You need someone to watch your back. I will come with you.”

There will always be cracks. But by standing together, we can be strong enough to overcome anything.
i_love_freddie: (Nano)
Hunting is Just Another Game

“I want to know how to survive in the wild.”

Cory loved learning new skills. He had been born into a well-known assassins guild, and his whole life had been about training and being encouraged to push himself as hard as possible. The art of stealth, picking locks, sneaking valuables from pockets of others, scaling roofs, getting a clean kill – he had learned it all. But he wanted to know more.

Benny was the obvious choice of mentor. In his late forties and having travelled extensively for most of his life, the quiet, dark-haired man was more than a little knowledgeable on the subject of wilderness survival. He was also a calm and patient teacher, who was slow to get frustrated.

“There are three basic ways to trap an animal; a trapping pit, a snare, or a spring trap. Let's start with the spring trap.”

Read more... )
i_love_freddie: (Idol)
The room is dark and quiet, except for the slight snorting and mumbling noises the man makes in his sleep. My feet sink into the soft rug, all the better for making no sound. The rest of the house is silent. I have already taken the necessary steps to ensure that we will not be interrupted by his servants.

Politics are everywhere, finely woven into society in such a way that few are aware of how the system really works. But still it affects everyone in some way. It can be seen every day; and it is pretty black and white. Once a slave, always a slave. Once a beggar, always a beggar. There are exceptions but they are very rare. And those who get a taste of power tend to cling on to that like the leeches they are.

Politics bring power struggles and conflict - I see it first hand in my line of work. The rich and powerful only want the best, and my reputation precedes me. Quick meetings in shadowy back alleys or the taverns in the most run down parts of the city, money exchanging hands... and then whatever is causing them a problem is no more. I take care of it. Quick, clean, no fuss. That is just what I do.

Concealing myself in the shadows, I move closer to the sleeping man. He stirs, but does not awaken. I recognise him – he sits on the council, one of those who regulates the use of magic in the city. There have been rumours about him taking bribes, and it seems as though some of his actions have made somebody very angry.

It is essential to have laws and structure in order to create a society where people can live together; but not all rules are fair, and some people are corrupt. Those in my line of work are criticised, but there has to be balance.

Who seeks my aid? Well, those who are rich or in a position of power often make powerful enemies. Sometimes they are being blackmailed or threatened, and they want protection and someone to remove the threat. I can do that. My network of contacts within the underworld of the city makes finding information easy. Or they need a rival removed; maybe someone isn't performing their role adequacy and need to be unseated with minimal distraction.

I am at his bedside now. He looks so innocent in his world of dreams, but those who know him know differently. This man is far from innocent. The moon slides out from behind a cloud and I freeze as the room is filled with yellow light. I can't risk being seen from outside, but it is a cloudy night. I can wait.

The issue of marriage... well, a lot of people come to me with marriage related issues. Maybe a husband or wife suspects an affair, and wants the third party to be disposed of. In a society where those who are married are expected to stay together, for better of for worse, there's not much sympathy given to those who will interfere. Of course, it works the other way too. One case I saw was a woman who wanted her husband 'dealt with' – she claimed her parents forced her into the marriage, and her husband was a heavy drinker who beat her and slept with other women. She had fallen in love with another man and wanted to be free to marry him, so her husband needed to be 'removed' in a way that would not cause suspicion to fall upon her. Whether the allegations were true, I don't know and I don't want to know. That is not part of my job.

Darkness again. I move quickly, removing the dagger from my belt. It is all about the perfect strike. He opens his eyes, just as the blade flashes through the air. There is no time to even scream – just as it should be. He can only stare up at me as the blood flows from the slash on his throat.

The other issue with marriage is people marrying down. If a headstrong daughter of a noble is determined to marry a commoner... then that threat needs to be removed so nothing happens that might affect the family structure. Love just doesn't count for much when money or power is involved. Arranged marriages are very common, but not always welcome. Add to the fact that if a man rapes a virgin girl, he is required by law to marry her and support any child that results – a lot of people don't like that. Unsurprisingly, they want punishment.

I don't mind. It keeps me in a job.

I wait silently until his breathing stops. The sheets are soaked in his blood. As instructed, I drop the dagger on the floor. The eagle crest, the insignia of one of our most powerful noble houses, is visibly carved into the handle. My job completed, I slip away as silently as I arrived.

The world of politics is always a messy one. And things are about to be shaken up a bit.
i_love_freddie: (Nano)
The boy shivered and placed his foot on the first step. 'One...'

Jonas paused and glanced at his appreciative audience. His younger half-brother Cory, and the young wolf-man Phellan, were listening to him intently. On the other side of the tiny camp fire, their companions seemed to be sleeping soundly despite the light wind and the rocky ground.

One by one, he counted down his steps while his friend waited anxiously at the top. 'Two... three... four... five... six... seven... eight...'

There was a slight chill in the night air. Cory shifted closer to the fire, grateful for the heat that the flames provided. The wizard continued with the story, his voice low.

There were ten steps in all. Nico waited, almost holding his breath, as his friend ventured down. 'Nine...' came the slightly frightened voice from below. There was a pause. 'Ten...' Nico gave a sigh of relief and was about to call down when something stopped him in his tracks. His friend's voice continued in a flat tone: 'Eleven... twelve... thirteen... fourteen...'

“What happened?” Cory whispered.

“No one knows. According to the account, it was first assumed that the boy was messing around and a full search of the cellar was made. But no trace of him was ever found. Supposedly a true story.”

“It really happened?” Phellan asked innocently, his eyes wide. Having spent his whole life in a tribe of his own kind, so much of the way of humans was new to him – and so he was more than a little naïve.

Jonas nodded. “There were other stories too – apparently staircases are really common in tales of random disappearances. Another I read was about this shack in the wilderness. It is old and falling apart, but all the furniture remains inside – like the owners just upped and left one day. Behind the shack is a set of broken stairs that seem to lead down to nowhere. Some say the bodies of the former residents are buried down there, others say that you will meet the shadow monster down there.”

Phellan stared at him. “Shadow monster?”

“Yep,” Jonas was really getting into his stride. “Legend says that all you can see of him are two red eyes lurking in the blackness. If you offer him something – like your youth or your wisdom – he will grant you a wish and let you live. Refuse, and he will take your life.”

Seeing that he had their full attention, he continued. “Another story – I actually read this one in a book - is about a staircase somewhere in the countryside. It is supposedly difficult to find because everything around it is overgrown; but certain people will stumble across it. The steps lead down to the deepest reaches of the hells, where all the torture takes place and demons run riot. One rumour says that two young men found it one spring day, and when one of them started to descend, some unseen force grabbed him and dragged him down screaming. He was never seen again.”

“Wow... that is kind of creepy,” Cory said quietly. Phellan said nothing, just stared at Jonas with his eyes wide.

“I know,” the wizard said nonchalantly. “Well, that's enough story-telling for tonight. It is time for me to sleep. Goodnight, pleasant dreams.”

“Cory?” Phellan whispered nervously. “We won't have to go down any stairs again, will we?”


It was during the next afternoon, while they were wandering the forest looking for herbs for Valia to use in potion-making, that Cory, Phellan and Jonas just happened to discover the stone steps leading down into the earth. Covered partly with bushes, there were no buildings or foundations or anything – just those stairs leading down into darkness.

“Cory?” Phellan eyed the staircase warily. “Will there be a monster down there?”

“I don't think so, Phellan.”

“But maybe the stairs will just go on and on and never end? Maybe we will be trapped forever? And just have to keep counting and counting?”

“I think that is very unlikely. Those were just stories. But if it makes you feel better... we could always push Jonas down them and see if he hits the bottom.”

“Hey!” The wizard glared over at them. “That's not funny.”

“Well, this is your fault,” Cory shot back. “You and your stories. Now get down there and show Phellan that there is nothing to be afraid of.”

“I don't want to go - ” Jonas started. At that moment Riandur came out through the trees – concerned that they had maybe gotten lost - and crashed into the man. As Jonas stumbled forward, his boot caught a tree root and he toppled down the slippery stone steps.

Riandur sighed. “Why was he standing there?” he asked no one in particular. Cory and Phellan exchanged a glance, trying not to laugh.

“Are you all right down there?” Cory called down to his half-brother. A groan came back in response. “I guess it isn't a never-ending staircase then?”

“Any monsters down there?” Phellan asked.

“Just a lot of mud and slime. And I'm not okay. Everything hurts.”

Cory smiled at Phellan. “You want to go down and help him?”

The young wolf-man regarded the steps uneasily. It was hard to know what scared him more; the scary stories or seeing Jonas flying down head first. “I guess so... I really don't think I like stairs though.”
i_love_freddie: (Nano)
Despite his very best attempts, Jonas had never quite fitted in anywhere. At two years old it was discovered that he could channel magic effortlessly without study – he was a sorcerer in a guild of assassins. While his younger brother and the boys of his own age were learning how to pick locks and slip gold from the pockets of unsuspecting victims, he was trying to understand and control the dangerous power inside him. The power he had never asked for.

They teased him a lot; at least at first. But soon it was discovered that making him angry resulted in bad things happening. After one episode of bullying, Jonas lost control and burnt the eyebrows off of one boy. They left him alone after that. Completely alone. He spent most of his days in the library, and the rest ignored him.

Sometimes he would try to fit in. But he didn't have the confidence. His jokes - A man walks into a bar and says, "ouch" – always seemed to fall flat and trying to take part in pranks would only lead to him getting caught and punished.

As he got older and started growing interested in women, the problems increased. Somehow he was just never able to say quite the right thing. “Your dad must be a baker because you have a nice set of buns,” he said to one, in all seriousness. When she slapped his face, he was more than a little confused. “You have beautiful eyes,” he said to another, only to have her run away giggling. Reluctantly he concluded that women made absolutely no sense. It infuriated him that his rival, Kane, could get female interest with no effort at all.


Eventually he just stopped being bothered. He was the way he was, and he had no time for people who could not appreciate that. His sarcasm tended to make people laugh – that it was sometimes at him was irrelevant. If he could not fit in, he would be an outsider and wear the label with pride.

Of course, to his half brother Cory, and Cory's best friend Phellan, his attitude was like waving a red flag at a bull. He might have been a bit of a joke, but they always found his sarcasm and behaviour to be hysterically funny.

And although Jonas complained about them, even shouted at them... in a strange way, he appreciated their attention. He knew that they weren't judging him, so much as just being playful and slightly immature. It was actually kind of nice after so many years of being shunned.
i_love_freddie: (Nano)
I'm Emma and this will be my second time playing LJ Idol. I share my head with a variety of very colourful characters, who are very insistent on coming out to play... and I can't refuse them! If I do, it is likely that all hell will break loose. What can I say, I'm just the scribe.

Kane is my handsome warrior with severe psychological issues and a huge reckless streak. Benny is my half-demon assassin with the ability to shapeshift, and the one who holds the whole group together. Cory is my sweet half-elven assassin who has a special way with animals, hates unnecessary killing, and always manages to get into trouble. Jonas is Cory's half brother, a wizard who is more than a little arrogant and a bit of an outcast. Valia is from a rich family, but was disowned by her father and is doomed to love a man who will never return her feelings.

Add in two wolfmen from a cursed tribe, a world filled with hidden dangers and wild creatures, and just sit back and let the fun (not to mention chaos) begin!
i_love_freddie: (Nano)
Since it is the last season and all - I'm signing up to play LJ Idol.

I may not be able to handle the stress, but it might give me me something positive to focus on.

i_love_freddie: (Dogs)
The large and sprawling graveyard was unkempt and overgrown. Some individual graves had been lovingly tended, but most of the place showed the deep signs of years of neglect. Brambles and weeds grew wild, and several of the stones had been eroded by wind and rain. The two statues which had once marked the entrance had almost crumbled away to nothing.

A new graveyard had been erected in the centre of the city, only a few years before. Small and neat, that was the place everyone visited now. The old bone yard had been forgotten, except by the wildlife and the few living people who still had a loved one buried there.

There were many rumours about the place. Talk of wailing and crying on stormy nights. Claims of white ghostly figures gliding through the tombstones. Tales of a large black dog with red eyes, who caused death to come to anyone who saw it. Rattling chains, bumps and moans, the restless dead in the crypts below. Sometimes young children would climb on the rusty railings surrounding the cemetery and dare each other to enter.

At the very back, behind several overgrown hawthorn bushes, was a single isolated grave. The headstone was tiny and several withered daisies were strewn across it, but it was quite well cared for compared to some of the others. Often, particularly on summer evenings, a very small girl with long blond hair could be found sitting there alone. It was usual for her to remain there for hours, just sitting.

She had no fear of ghosts or black dogs or things that went bump in the night. Sometimes she witnessed the scared children or the superstitious folk who scurried away from the place as the sun set, and she had to laugh. People were so strange. The graveyard was supposed to be a peaceful and relaxing place.

“Ghosts,” she said aloud, shaking her head. “Whoever heard of anything so silly?”

Carefully she pulled away a few weeds, revealing the roughly chiselled writing upon the tiny stone. The family had never had much money and it showed. But there had been just enough room for the simple inscription: Here lies Lucie Casper. Died at six summers of age.

Resting her cheek against the cool stone, the little girl sighed. She often found herself drawn back to the simple little grave, for it was all that was left. Sometimes her brother came visiting. He left flowers and talked to her, and she liked that. He hadn't been for a while though, and sometimes she got lonely. Still, she came every day, waiting and hoping for a glimpse of him.

As the sun slid down the sky and darkness covered everything, she gradually faded away until there was nothing left but the weathered stone. A peal of childish laughter rang out, breaking the silence of the night, and then there was nothing but the single grave of a young child.
i_love_freddie: (Cory)
(Disclaimer: Most characters here are mine, but Riandur and Phellan belong to my brother who kindly lets me play with them.)

There is a saying in guildhalls: you can tell who the most skilled and dedicated warriors and rogues are simply by counting how many scars they have. Each scar, each mark, tells the story of another monster and another battle for survival.


Read more... )
i_love_freddie: (Dogs)
It was just the luck of the draw – everybody knew that. Some days were good, some days were bad. Some days were boring. Some days were long and tiring. Other days brought excitement, riches and danger. Such was the life of a travelling adventurer.

And then once in a while, there would be a day where every single thing went wrong.


They had stumbled upon the vast ruined mountain temple purely by accident. A snowstorm had caught them off guard, and most of the group were struggling against the terrible weather. Riandur and Phellan, the two wolfmen, were able to push ahead a little, and it had been Riandur's sharp eyes that had spotted the snow-covered stone steps and the remains of the large statues which stood marking the temple entrance. It made sense to seek shelter there until the storm subsided.

Unfortunately the harsh weather caused an avalanche. The only obvious entrance to the temple was completely blocked with rock and earth and snow, leaving the seven companions trapped inside. Left with no other choice, Kane led his friends deeper into the temple in search of another exit. They cut through undead and spiders and giant bugs, and evaded traps, and finally discovered another passage. Carved out of the rock, it twisted and turned for miles before opening out into the cold air of the mountainside. Right into the middle of a small valley.

A valley which just happened to be home to a vicious mother dragon and her nest of eggs. Despite their fearsome reputation, dragons generally did not attack unless provoked. However, female dragons were extremely protective over their eggs. She and her mate both. As Benny put it: “There's nothing quite like being stuck in between two really pissed off dragons, and knowing that your chances of coming out alive are not good.”

Of course, they did. Barely, with quite a few injuries between them. It was just one of those typical days where one bad thing led to another. Just a standard day full of adventure and excitement.


i_love_freddie: (Default)

August 2017

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