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07/11/2004 3:35 PM

During the years between Nightstalker III and the story “Kiss of Death” Touga, Ayeka, and Alucardt went their separate ways to search for Ayeka’s youngest, Adrian. we have learned what happened to Alucardt and Ayeka....this is Touga’s story.

Touga frowned and reined in the chestnut gelding. The horse snorted and pulled restlessly at the reins, before finally settling down with a final toss of his head. Touga sighed and wiped his brow clear of sweat...even with the use of the Sunstone that his sister had given him, he still was unused to being out in such intense heat and light.

Often he would catch his K’Vular wolf, Nightshade glancing at him, her tongue lolling as if she were laughing at him... once he even caught the echo of such laughter in the packsong, but the echo was just that, and even with the strength of their bond, he couldn’t be sure if it was Nightshade or not.

The wolf sneezed, the dust of the plains tickled the back of her throat, and clung to her fur like a second skin. Even Touga looked worse for the wear...his clothing dusty and travel stained, his white cloak torn in one spot, and as dusty as the rest of him. His long, dark auburn hair was pulled into a single tail that hung down the middle of his back, giving him little respite from the heat.

The gelding grew impatient again, the muscles between the beasts shoulders twitched maddeningly from the drying sweat. Absently, Touga reached down and scratched some of the itch away, the gelding sighed and hung his head in relief. While he scratched, Touga’s mind wandered to the past... Flashes of old memory decades old flittered through his mind, their images like elusive fairies.

the most prominent was from nearly two decades past... the ruined carriage, the horses scattered... all his men dead or dying... he himself wounded badly... and the youngest of his sister’s children, Adrian was gone, stolen. The elder child, Jadrek, was cowering in what remained of the carriage, his newly attained wolf cub huddled by his side, whining softly. Silently Touga shook his head, after all this time, he still could not shake the feeling that if only he had been more alert, Taryn wouldn’t have been able to steal away Adrian.

::Why worry about what has passed? The River cannot flow backward...even if it could, its course would never be changed without destroying all that lay in its new path:: This was Nightshade’s voice, her husky tones colored the packsong a somber gray. Touga blinked once in mild confusion before he recognized her voice, so deep in thought was he.

“I know it cannot be changed now.. but I still cannot help but wonder what would have happened if I had done things differently...” He said, as he urged the gelding into a walk. The horse protested momentarily, then ambled forward. Nightshade snorted, and pawed at some dust on her dark muzzle before turning her bright yellow eyes to him.

:: Kensi’She’Endra thinks as such every day, with every breath... so says Jennah...:: Nightshade paused to scratch insistently at an itch.

At this Touga’s eyes closed... “Kensi’she’endra... Ayeka. So she still blames herself as well?” Frowning, he urged the gelding into a canter, then, into an all-out gallop. The Gelding’s eyes rolled as he raced across the plains, the high grass brushing his belly, and the river on his right glittered bright in the sun.

Up ahead, a flash of sunlight on steel caught Touga’s attention, and he leaned forward a bit in the saddle, unconsciously urging the horse faster. His ice blue eyes narrowed, Touga watched the scene before him.

07/20/2004 10:37 PM

He was drawing. Deft hands flowed like water over the barren earth, spreading many colors of Dust over the land, which, manipulated by his hands or his will or both, formed an intricate web of ancient symbols and forgotten power.

It was a simple spell and Nîm-Jolin really didn't have to think about it at all. In fact, he wasn't think about much of anything his own. A past flittered through his mind, carving out his new home long before he had ever arrived and a future, sad now that he had left just when so much was torn asunder.

His dagger lay to the side, glinting in the sun, and discarded and forgotten like the rest of his meager gear. Near the dagger, once brighter than its steel, was a beaten cloak of molten silver covered in dust and grime, much as its owner. A horse grazed off to the side, unsaddled and untethered. All in all, it was a strange scene to be discovered just here...enough to make the unbelievers question fate before they remembered its blantant nonexistance.

Nîm-Jolin completed the spell by picking up the same, plain dagger and waving it haphazardly through the air. The result was a small scrying pool and the life-reflecting water which revealed a stunning valley.

The mage stood up, stretched, bones popping. He looked to the not-so-strange stranger then and sold himself on a savage grin and glowing green eyes.

"Care to have a look-see?"

07/20/2004 11:31 PM

Sokar grumbled to himself as he past through a strangely dense patch of grass.

The rolling winds and dusts of the plains were no place for him. His body burned under his cloaks, and his skin cried out in agitation. No matter how hard he tried Sokar found that he was unable to avoid getting dust all over him. It seeped through the fibers of his clothing and mingled with the charred remains of his skin painfully, in some places drawing blood. The jagged edges of the grains cut up his lungs as he breathed them in with the dry air. Sokar tried to shove off the pain, knowing that he was here for a good reason. The more he focused on his task the faster it would be completed and he would be able to return to Solace.

Menatlly though, Sokar found he was unable to do much but focus on the pain he felt and a hatred for the sorcerer that forced him in here. The fool had insisted that the design Sokar showed him required a peticular kind of ivory to fashion correctly and apparently only he was able to retrive it while the mage worked on other portions of his goldy hand.

'The Hand of Sokar' he thought, rolling the name he had chosen for his weapon around in his head once again. The title seemed to roll off his charred toung and it comforted him some to think that the ivory was the last piece of the puzzle. The thought of the power it bring him caused Sokar to push on harder. He wanted his task completed so he could be rid of this painful place.

Besides, Sokar couldnt shake the feeling that he wasnt alone in these desolate plains...

07/21/2004 5:41 PM

Touga urged the gelding forward, and slipped out of the saddle once he got closer. The Gelding wickered, and moved off to graze near the unsaddled horse. He moved to stand somewhat behind the young man who seemed so familiar... the magic too...

He glanced down at the scrying pool, and blinked in surprise. It was Kiri's Valley, Kiri and Ayeka's... His sister and her She'Endra.

"Who are you?" He asked, not bothering to hide the surprise in his voice, his ice blue eyes locking onto Nim's emerald green ones.

07/24/2004 2:45 PM

::The scent of blood... of charred flesh....:: Nightshades' voice shaded the packsong from soft gray to smokey black...

The dark gray wolf raised her nose to the wind, and sneezed. ::I investigate...:: was all she sent before trotting off into the tall grasses. Touga turned his attentions back to the young man before him, awaiting an answer to his question.

Nightshade trotted through the grasses, occasionallly startling a rabbit or another game bird from cover... she play-chased the rabbit for a moment, and then graced the quail with a snap of her jaws closing on a single tailfeather. Gingerly she raised her paw to rub her muzzle, dislodging the feather from her teeth, and let it fall to the ground before she once again payed any attention to the intriging scent... nose to the ground she followed it till she could see a human shrouded from head to food in black cloth...

She watched him, her head tilted to one side, her intelligent amber eyes bright. She could hear his faint mutterings, and the scent of blood and charred flesh made her all the more curious.

07/28/2004 6:46 AM

Sokar nearly laughed himself gitty when he found to remains of a large creature half covered in the grass and sand. This was because the creature had two large tusks that were made of just the right material he needed. Sokar silently gave thanks to the creature for dieing here for him to find. In doing so it not only rid the world of it's uselessness, but in death the creature serve a purpose that it never could have in life. It served him, as everyone would one day...

Sokar knelt down and inspected the ivory of the tusks before he drew his sword. It would be more then enough to complete his little project with the sorcerer. Then he could kill him and be done with this annoying task. The tusks were about three feet long each and quite wide. They looked like they had been there a while and were thus charred black by the elements. They were perfect. Taking the blade carefully Sokar began to slowly cut along the lines of the creature's skull. The acidic poison that the mage had him dip his blade in made it easy to cut the tusks free but he had to be careful to to get any on himself as it may kill him.

As the first heavy tusk fell free of it's owner the wind shifted and as it did Sokar thought he sensed something. He had felt like he was being watched the entire trip, but this time he could feel the pressence, it wasnt just his imagination. Taking care not to show any external signs of his new awareness Sokar stood up and servayed the area nonchelantly. He didnt think he saw anything until he caught a small glimps of gray hair to his left.

Sokar smiled a toothy grin...something was stalking him...

07/30/2004 2:56 PM

Nîm-Jolin looked hurt. "You do not recognize me, then, no? We have never met, but the resemblence..." He adopted an exaggerated thoughtful expression and then snapped his fingers. "Perhaps I am too silly!" He waved a hand at the scrying pool and an image of Kiri appeared on its surface. She was frowning, her eyes weary. Nîm twisted until his face was as level with the pool as possible without hitting the ground and then made a gallant attempt to contort his features into something like her dark expression.

He gave up after a few seconds and stood again, blinking. "It would be so much easier if she would take my advice and cheer up." He grinned. "But who would listen to crazy ol' Nîm, eh?" His attention drifted back to the scrying pool and he watched her move from her home to a meeting of her students, still frowning. He cocked his head at the sight and then, ignoring his guest, grinned obnoxiously into the pool. "Life is for living," he muttered.

On the pool's edge, a spontaneous smile lit Kiri-koli's eyes. It soon became puzzled, but did not fade and she shook her head and began her lessons, her heart a little lighter.

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