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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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Writer Mathew Babaoye
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  • G: General Audiences
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Nightglory (3rd Edition)
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#3
The Lady
Mathew Babaoye
Jan 14, 2016
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146
9 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!fIe2kFejbuQsQCXKAH1dposted on PENANA

Afternoon sunlight was softly strangled by the tangled, leafy forest canopy spread high above immense redwoods standing like ancient moss-wreathed columns out into the soft distance of the dim, gently vibrant forest interior...copyright protection146PENANAJ3IJS80jfa

... unearthly hush spread...copyright protection146PENANANuS1xdHMwT

A deer raised her head above shadow-dappled foliage. Her ears twitched, then she bounded away through the underbrush, until...copyright protection146PENANAgnm6ZjQA0S

Silence.copyright protection146PENANAOKWxuOGv8V

The momentGoldenslaughter stepped smoothly from the shadows before just standing there a moment posing for the Onta, as real as day...copyright protection146PENANAFWpyYWLFIi

... sigh of breeze, rustling leaves...copyright protection146PENANAzZFV5EfWff

Lovely, gracefully, and pale, the immortal one – wearing a fitted black jacket, pants, and snug black boots, with her long blond hair and black cloak streaming ethereally behind her – resumed striding gracefully through the trees dark. Also: still following the rhythm established by her entrance, she began to hum...copyright protection146PENANAP3ZLBuAhZJ

... unearthly hush began spreading further...copyright protection146PENANAcEFCcDzXji

Goldenslaughter wended gracefully through the dark shadows of the immense trees while humming notes in climbing scale, eventually emerging out into a sylvan glade, then crossing halfway to begin passing up a grassy knoll as her scale shifted first to a rising murmur, then unknown words. Reaching the top, she briefly stopped...copyright protection146PENANAfThVOnz3kP

Focus.copyright protection146PENANAj9SjVuNvLN

Having seized the "opening moment", the blonde immortal one flowed smoothly into motion again, descending back down to the forest floor while finally beginning, but gently, to Sing: "Wend the woods, in shadow lie/ Send the weft, and bend the eye." She then began over again, humming...copyright protection146PENANAfXrVAEy9CS

Song was one of the oldest forms of magic which yet remained primally effective, being especially potent in progressive repetition. Having returned to this new heart of her vale's ancient forest, she would soon come before her old friend, competitor AND fellow Power (although one which always paid her the proper obeisance as Queen): the Lady of Elements. Though always cordial, it had been years now since they had last spoken. And, since things had never been quite right between them ever since her ancient Vale Conquering War, it had seemed appropriate to announce herself today in the old ways...copyright protection146PENANArSLINA6nEq

Which meant imbuing her dark Essence back into the land, through Powerful verse. A generous magical gift, this suffusion's additional benefit was to also subtly renew her magical Control of the local area's incipient shadows (which would long remain here after as potential sets of her spying eyes, and cruel hands)...copyright protection146PENANAcXz5hvz51k

Who knows what the future might bring? Best to be prepared for anything. Goldenslaughter was gently humming notes in climbing scale while flowing down the knoll and back onto the forest floor, then she crossed the glade and passed out among the trees again, where shadows lingered. Returning back to a rising murmur, and unknown words, she finally began to Sing out again, firmly: "Kith and wood, the binded vein/ Dark in mood, alive in hame." She then began over again, humming...copyright protection146PENANASgikbSYK1B

... the forest dim remained hushed, but was now slowly growing softer while bathed in the gentle light cast by floating, pure motes of luminescent Power coming gently into existence as an indirect result of her compounding Song's slow, but steadily-building magical effect...copyright protection146PENANACttnchYiEC

My Will is all. Goldenslaughter left the trees behind (with the ensorcelled shadows stirring among them) while humming firmly in climbing scale. Soon approaching glinting rivulets of water, she returned to a rising murmur, and unknown words, before finally beginning to Sing out again, the sound swelling: "fae and bracken, root and leaf, wind and water, gladed fief." She then began over again, humming...copyright protection146PENANAIQAiWRNvWO

A feeling.copyright protection146PENANAPP489g0802

Skipping over glinting rivulets of water now, Goldenslaughter hummed in climbing scale. She hopped back onto solid ground afterwards, following the burbling watercourse upstream while returning to a rising murmur, and unknown words. Pausing one last time to tease the Onta, she finally belted out the last verse pure, and strong: "heart of root, Source of thame, point of thorn, end of Name!"copyright protection146PENANAJDvc1HtZ08

A loud clap of sound...copyright protection146PENANABIYc1U3Oq0

... and the rising, sorcerous wind began dying away around her again as the floating motes of building, luminescent Power gently dissipated.copyright protection146PENANADgPIoZYp7Z

And bow. The blonde immortal one spun forward, coming down upon one black-clad knee with her arms held out low beside her, and just waited there, motionless, before a still aquamarine pool at the edge of numerous others spread ahead across the vibrant forest dim. No dryads to greet me? Hmph.copyright protection146PENANArQCX3DFxCF

There came a ripple in the pool.copyright protection146PENANAFeoEqqzufZ

Good. She remains prompt enough, at least. Goldenslaughter lay gracefully forward now upon the mossy bank of the stilling pool, bringing up one forearm to pillow her chin while reaching her other hand forward. Gazing down into the watery depths, she lazily trailed a single pale finger across the surface tension...copyright protection146PENANAuSfkBDkz3r

There appeared a dim, distant shape in the pool...copyright protection146PENANAzvibslO8Tr

Goldenslaughter slowly removed her pale finger...copyright protection146PENANAOyGdc6DLAT

... as the distant shape below rose up to near, and nearer.copyright protection146PENANAL5L0qnEKWH

Ha! She abruptly rolled backwards into a crouch–copyright protection146PENANAcwcuHFQwNJ

A violent spray of water!copyright protection146PENANAYCiEPvKthl

The blonde immortal one laughed in surprise, while shielding her squinting dark eyes with one of her pale hands, then stared playfully through her spreading fingers...copyright protection146PENANAm2r83SvHCs

A dripping woman stood at the pool's edge: she had black eyes, long seaweed hair, and neck gills, breathing. "Queen of Night."copyright protection146PENANApPYCjGhac5

Goldenslaughter flowed smoothly back up to standing now, and bowed. "Lady of Elements." She rose straight again. "How fares your domain?"copyright protection146PENANAUbHdPwIAZZ

"I shepherd," the Lady corrected. "But the urth is well enough. How fares your Realm?"copyright protection146PENANAWm2nu5fZMS

"Night blooms," she answered. "And as a gift: I blessed the way with my Essence..."copyright protection146PENANArcHpO155ci

"The Fae will love that," the Lady confessed, before hesitating. "And do you request a gift? In return?"copyright protection146PENANAb7tSkjp2Tp

Goldenslaughter paused. "No. Simply conversation."copyright protection146PENANA2QL4df9teW

The Lady subtly relaxed, and smiled knowingly. "It has been some time since last we visited. Agreed."copyright protection146PENANAmG845X6b3i

...copyright protection146PENANAuepX6JhwMa

The two Powers shared tales of old, and laughter, although both were always careful to skirt the shared (and still tender) emotional scar left by her ancient vale Conquering War. During the course of circling: they found an edge of nostalgia, bitter rue, and then matters finally returned, as they always must, to Fate...copyright protection146PENANAVO1GTfW3Ia

"I have Dreamed, recently," the Lady admitted. She was seated demurely (sidesaddle) against the edge of the first forest pool now, and briefly kicked her long, scaled legs idly in the water.copyright protection146PENANAZ5R89W6f89

Goldenslaughter was now seated (cross-legged) upon the mossy bank, before her. "Of portents?"copyright protection146PENANAyCnXAuHR1u

The Lady arched a fine, pale eyebrow. "Perhaps. Is that not the true reason for your visit?copyright protection146PENANA2Wi3Dcizf0

Her dark eyes narrowed. What does she know? Perhaps much. But how do I draw it from her? While it was true she possessed a great many magical talents, augury had never been a strength. The steady success of her bygone youth had been due to diligence, her monolithic Will and quick, surgical strikes upon her problems. But ever since her ancient Vale Conquering War, she had begun to rely ever more (over the following centuries) upon her overwhelming, immense dark Power. Subtlety had become a lost art for her... but her old friend was a strong augerer and Power in her own right, so to glean information: her normal tactics would not do...copyright protection146PENANAKf6BnfytvG

The Lady was watching her.copyright protection146PENANAD3j11TvJKx

"Again: I say no," Goldenslaughter answered softly. "But you are coy, now. Will you not share dreams with an old friend?"copyright protection146PENANAdMtwP7I7GX

"There are dreams and Dreams," the Lady answered her, easily enough. "And some of them cost."copyright protection146PENANA8rce3AuB40

An idea!copyright protection146PENANAiH3BI5ueOf

In the innocence of their youth (when the two of them had been as equals), they had played games of glory, taking turns acting out adventures as warriors, princesses, and Powerful wizards famous or imagined. Her idea concerned one of their old favorite games: the singsong Contest widely reputed of Faen courts, where free verse was exchanged, back and forth, to ask and answer tricky questions. A nostalgic play might reveal a prophetic hint of Fate, so...copyright protection146PENANAL21fyRmgY3

... the Queen of Night finally smiled, dangerously. "We speak of prices. Very well: should we make the telling a Contest?"copyright protection146PENANAe7vqly1Qa5

The Lady stared, then slowly nodded. "Pride and Power?"copyright protection146PENANAQsNU4vZyKO

"Power and Pride," she agreed.copyright protection146PENANAOwQPLoG8FF

One stood in water. One stood on land. One extended a webbed-claw. One extended a pale hand...copyright protection146PENANAbTMGk8flZp

They clasped.copyright protection146PENANAqPRdJVJJuu

Goldenslaughter opened sweetly: "questions ask, answers tell/ A pretty price, a shattered dell/ Behooves, to naught, in vain, was caught, a deal of social spell." (This began by simply stating the "question and answer" rules of the Contest, hinted at rewards or nature despoiled, then cheerily backtracked on the implicit threat.) That was somewhat rough around the edges. I am a little out of practice at this lyrical buffoonery, but so is–copyright protection146PENANAyj0o8MNPUt

The Lady gave her a throaty chuckle. "The work of cloven Fae in dell could not be claimed by shadowfell/ In sooth the footing starts as fair as any day in Tironell." (This reminded her of typical Faen autonomy, and also: that things stood fair between them, neither presently owing the other any past debt.)copyright protection146PENANAv6niNHq22p

Fair enough words, I suppose. Perhaps sly, even. Goldenslaughter looked down at their joined hands. "Deals sell and answers bought/ Sleep betide and Dreams be taught/ For terms agreed, and price be need, and mine is fair as fought." (This firmly re-stated the Contest as a transaction, meaning an answer was due and her impatience merely underscored personal urgency.)copyright protection146PENANArtfjHZfrJK

The Lady pretended caution. "In truth your reputation stands as fair as mine could be/ In truth our needs must stand aside if truth you seek of greed." (This suggested neither of them were unbiased, and cautioned that truth would not be shared if it be used for the hoarding of Power.)copyright protection146PENANAVh3WGcIt2D

Sly indeed. As if I am not Sovereign, overpowering and therefore entitled to all before me. Goldenslaughter feigned outrage. "Terms agreed and bargain set, tales begun or tales beget/ Of broken word, of stricken terms, of sallow faith, and banners furled." (This reminded that the Contest's rules were plain, and strongly implied the potential for excessive retribution if she was cheated.)copyright protection146PENANAXxJkPw1gz4

The Lady smiled anyway. "Impatience disregarded in regard to induced accurance/ Begun beginnings, you shall find, will lead you as you wish..."copyright protection146PENANAG1yVkfUAHE

With the lyrical haggling concluded, the gentle hum of Power (which had been building between them) now reached its first pitch: the moment had finally arrived for her old friend to begin revealing her prophetic Dream, so...copyright protection146PENANAkCVoyBAh5D

Goldenslaughter grinned.copyright protection146PENANAU2aDm0angJ

The Lady began. "A week ere past in slumber resting, straight away a sight was shown/ In detail's vague but meaning nested, blessed She, in Night aglow/ The Slythy spoke. The shade awoke. A caged bird did sing/ As alone twixt twins a cruel game was etched, with smile and frown/ Then without thought, desire bested: Rue, became a crown..."copyright protection146PENANAsWK0S5gNFX

A pause between them, with that still-building sorcerous hum now *crackling* into the silence...copyright protection146PENANAr0Amo9XZq2

Goldenslaughter abruptly replied: "a skittish truth, if truth there be, to such a Dream as that/ In such is poetry, and vague allure, to meaning, and a lack/ If Dream it is, and not a dream borne odd, and out of fact/ To mention Slythy, shades a tremble, cages, twins, a knack/ Behooves a deeper reading, with your help, to view a clearer track..."copyright protection146PENANACl4NYqN9O4

"My help required?"copyright protection146PENANATg1EhTKxGp

"Your help invested."copyright protection146PENANAu7q4uPdsPE

The Lady grinned. "Nay, it cannot be: for all you asked was Dream atelling."copyright protection146PENANAusZzfY037P

"Nay! Not without sense!"copyright protection146PENANA8169Fn2qUJ

The Lady laughed. "Oho! Now rude, now cataracked, to miss the forest trees..."copyright protection146PENANAPpRgul6IOV

Goldenslaughter frowned. "The what?"copyright protection146PENANAminmSDkTHs

"To miss a deal so fairly struck, be fairly paid indeed." From the pool came a great splash of water, drenching them both!copyright protection146PENANAJPuPYad1A8

Goldenslaughter spluttered in shock, and suddenly let go the Lady's webbed claw. Immediately: came a crackling snap which abruptly drained the charged, building Power between them (which was the Contest's true prize). Gasping, she collapsed upon her hands and knees, just momentarily weakened by the accidental forfeit...copyright protection146PENANAKqxCG2YMKM

Alone.copyright protection146PENANAI755tXJORq

That's...copyright protection146PENANAhAfLqeVDfv

Goldenslaughter turned slowly, and gazed deep into the depths of the pool: a dim, slender shape was still disappearing away again back down into the watery depths...copyright protection146PENANAL0WjDClBp6

That's not fair.copyright protection146PENANAn7dsdHqXwi

"Teasing bitch!" she suddenly shrieked, and dove into the pool *SPLASH* to pursue her.150Please respect copyright.PENANA0H9X0MzmnZ
copyright protection146PENANAnNSDzjSuW8

54.161.108.58

ns54.161.108.58da2
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