[Fiction] Tales by the fireplace...

This is not exactly a story thread, per se, but rather a thread for short pieces of fiction, as told by our itinerate storyteller, usually in the feast hall by the fireplace. Player participation isn't really required, but if you want to post something similar, feel free to do so.

"Stay awhile, and listen..."


(This piece of fiction has been sitting on my HD for the last couple
of months, as Writer's Block (in the form of an XBOX-360 and
Orange Box for my PC) set in. I hope you, at least, find it
tolerable. And yes, I truly think the Mythic World is that Mythic.

[In the Feast Hall, one autumn evening]

"Stay awhile, and listen," said the old storyteller, his voice 

still clear, despite his advanced years. He carried himself well,
dressed in unassuming garb, with naught but a staff to support him
as he walked, and the charity of those who listend to him for his
food and shelter.

"Not so long ago, and not so far away, a young apprentice became 

a young sorceress. She had many gifts that suited her for this
purpose; A keen mind, sharp wits, iron will, and great courage.
Alas, she also suffered from the sins of lust and pride; The only
thing that satisfied her was more power, and she took pride in the
fleeting works she accomplished. Thus, that which could have done
so much good, did so many ill."

"Eventually, the young sorceress was exiled from her homeland 

and sent east, her peers hoping to never see or hear from her again.
Stripped of the wealth she had, she had only herself to rely on, and
only her ghosts and demons to keep her company in the cold exile in
the great forests of the east. It is here that she nearly perished,
if it were not for the kindness of a simple woodsman."

"The man had rescued her from freezing to death in the woods, 

and had brought her into his modest lodgings. With barely enough
for himself to eat, he shared what he had with her. Eventually, as
she healed, she learned to speak the man's language, and something
akin to friendship formed between the two. Here was someone who
took her as she was, and was not afraid, even when she showed him
what she could do. She learned to appreciate what she had been
given, and make the most of what she had."

"She had thought the things she had made were grand and awesome, 

yet compared to the great halls of the trees in the northern woods,
silent in their grandeur, they were nothing, and she was humbled by
the experience. Soon, she learned to live simply, and the
friendship that had developed soon blossomed into love."

"Such was not to be, for strange riders from the south attacked 

the small village while she was away in the woods, tending the traps
her husband-to-be had set. When she had returned, the horsemen were still
reveling in the burning wrack of the village, the bodies left to lay
where they had fallen."

"Overwhelming grief was soon replaced by rage, a rage so fierce 

that it manifested in her magic as a pure, white fire that consumed
everything around her; Village, horsemen, bodies, wood, stone,
earth. When it passed, all that was left was glass."

"She wandered for a some time after that, avoiding the strange 

southerners, and working her way back to the west. What trials she
had there are not the focus of this story, save one."

"She had wandered into a land where the stones themselves were 

as red as blood; The land was desert, the dwellers there content to
either stay in their walled cities, or travel in huge armed caravans
filled with trade goods. Bandits and monsters roamed freely, preying
on those weaker than themeselves."

"Monsters called djinn roamed these wastes, preying on the weak

and unfaithful, stealing whatever they fancied from who ever they
could. And these Djinn were mighty amongst their kind, so their
victims were many and varied, some of them quite powerful. She
happened upon them whilst they were pillaging the hoard of a mighty
beast, whom they had pinned to the ground with spears, and held fast
with mighty chains."

"They had found no gold, for the beast had valued knowledge over

everything, and thus, collected books and scrolls, and other forms
in which knowledge was recorded. Our traveller cared not to
interfere in such matters, but the mistreatment of knowledge was
a crime she could not let go unpunished; Nor could she stand to
see a beast die slowly, suffering, in pain."

"When she struck, it was as a hammer blow, crushing the first

as he walked out with a large rock held in the air, and released.
The other 2, thus warned, stayed in the cave, and attempted sorcery
on the traveler, who was protected by her craft. They were hauled
bodily out of the cave, one at a time, and impaled on a rocky spire,
there to perish."

"The bodies provided what she needed to undo as much of the harm

they had done, for the beast was sorely wounded, and near to death.
She cast her spells, using the magic of the beasts to heal what she
could, and then proceeded to free the beast. The chains were rent,
and the spears destroyed, and our traveller got a close look at the
creature she had saved. A dragon, gold as the sun, lay on the ground
before her. It tried to move, but could not, for the sun was burning
fiercely in the sky, nearing mid-day."

"'Why, O Man,' asked the dragon, 'have you saved me?  Most of your

kind wish the same as those ifrit did.'"

"'A stranger once did me a kindness,' said the sorceress, 

'thereby saving my life. I honor his memory and love by returning
the favor when I can. Also, I cannot bear needless suffering,
knowing the full measure of the suffering I have caused in my life.'
She sat down nearby, and using her craft provided some shade from
the sun. 'I also find great displeasure in those who would mistreat
knowledge, and those who value it. In that, I think we have much in

"'The honor is mine, Maga,' replied the dragon.  'Rare is the

traveler in these parts who value knowledge over gold. Would that
I could show you more hospitality, but I am somewhat indisposed.'
the great beast chuckled, then coughed up some blood, then fell

"'In battle I could kill thee,' said the sorceress, ' but not 

lying here like this.' With a great effort, she used her craft to
move the mighty beast back into the cool shade of the cave, where
there was some safety. The books and scrolls tossed into a pile by
the bandits were carefully returned to shelves in the cave."

"It was well past sunset when the dragon awoke.  Our traveller

had spread a modest bedroll off in one corner, and was writing
something when she noticed the beast looking at her. 'I see that the
master of the house is awake,' she said, smiling, closing the journal
she was keeping. 'What is required of your guest?"

"I require nothing,' said the dragon,'however, you may find some

more comfortable accomodations nearby; I once had many scholars as
guests, and had some quarters set aside for them. They may not be
much, but it will be more comfortable than the cold stone floor. And
sleep, for there will be time enough tomorrow for talking.'"

"Days passed as our traveler and the dragon talked, and learned

from each other. Once rested, the dragon recovered quickly, and
was nearly whole after half a fortnight. The dragon mainly slept,
while our traveler sorted through the vast collection of tomes,
marvelling at collection within the cave. 'In my younger days,' she
said, 'I would have thought nothing about taking this as mine. Now,
I cannot bear the thought of it.'"

"Soon, however, the maga had to leave, in order to find food.  

And the lord of those servants she had slain earlier knew this. Thus
it was when she left the cave, he struck. He was mightier than his
servants, and truly a creature to be feared. The Maga was
overmatched, and with a swing of his mace, nearly ended her life."

"He was soon engulfed by fire, which he laughed at, his hide	

being proof against the fiercest flame and heat. He did not see the
better part of a hill come crashing down on him from the sky, blinded
as he was by the smoke and the flame, dashing him senseless, and
burying him up to his neck in a pile of stone. A quick swipe across
the throat, and the dragon let the Ifrit bleed out.'"

"'A neat trick,' said the Maga, 'Where'd you learn it?'  The 

voice was weak, and life was fading from her body."

"'By watching you,' said the dragon.  'As you had saved my life, 

I shall save yours.'"

"What craft the dragon had worked, none could say, save that the

end result was that the maga lived. Whe she awoke, she was in one of
the chambers her host had mentioned, her form whole, old scars gone,
the body remade as new. She was soon joined by old woman, dressed
in plain robes, tall and regal. 'I see my guest is awake. You are
not the only one who can work magic. I have been rude to my guest,
in that I have not given you my name. As we are now bound by blood,
you should know. The name men first called me as been lost to time,
And I have had many since. You may call me Féa, since it is the
name I am most fond of.'"

"The maga would eventually stay a year with the dragon, to heal

and recover, and to repay the debt she felt she owed. Eventually,
she made her way back to her homeland, allowed to return by those
who'd exiled her."

"The moral of our tale is 'Be kind to strangers;  Your life may

depend on it, and you have no idea who it is you might be helping..."