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02/14/2007 12:35 PM

The sun was setting on Elyssia's life, even as it cleared the horizon behind her. She watched on with a dispassionate expression as tears filled her violet eyes. Tears full of bitter regret and an impossible fury. She watched as the suns' weakened light lit the valley below, upon the ruins of her land, her people, her home&her very life.

Elyssian, the land of dreams& the Homeland of the elves. In the middle of the dream-filled night, a shadow had been released, and multiplied, destroying everything in its wake. Blood of all fey had been soaked into the earth, twisting the very land, and magic that bound it all together. Turning the fanciful dreams into horrible nightmares. Those not dead had been changed, twisted, and turned into creatures of a nightmarish world. Elyssia had been the only one to escape the horrific devastation of her world.

Yes, her world. Her land. Her people&. She was the ruling queen of all things fey, the last of the High Elves inside of Elyssian. Now she had to leave, if there be any hope that Elyssian would live again, it remained within her. To find out why, to restore the land to peace once again, this was her final task. She stood alone on the edge of the cliff, her long silvery-blonde hair gleamed in the light as the wind tugged at the burnished tresses.

Elyssia couldn't help but smile as tiny wind sylphs blinked in and out of her vision. The wind and the sylphs swirled around her, and the long slender sword that hung from her hip, though it never actually touched the steel, the accursed creation of mortals, derived from the cold iron feared by all of the fey. From behind her, Elyssia could hear the soft delicate footfalls of a unicorn&

Glavian snorted and paced forward, like herself, he was the last of his kind here in Elyssian, but luckily for him, other unicorns lived outside of the realm of dreams. Perhaps she could be lucky enough to find other high elves that were sequestered among the land of men&

"We must leave, my lady. The chaos of nightmares is consuming this realm&" Glavian tossed his head, as his golden horn pulsed with a silvery light.

Elyssia nodded and pulled herself up onto his back, settling down on the thick saddle pad, grasping the silver mesh and silken reins that were connected to the woven silk halter on Glavian's head. The unicorn stag turned, moving with a grace that no horse on any plane could ever possess. Close inspection revealed that Glavian was more built like a deer than a horse, with legs built for speed, cloven hooves, and ears that seemed nearly too big for his angular head. He flicked his lion-like tail and turned away from the kingdom of dreams&

Utilizing the speed that his kind was known for, Glavian raced towards the Gates of Elyssian, sometimes known to mortals as the "gates of sleep". Dancing to a halt, Glavian stopped just short of the darkened gates.

"Leife, Mother of all plants, become a beacon to guide us!" Elyssia cried out, as the roar of chaos began to shatter the world behind them, furious that even they would escape. A spark of light shot forth from Elyssia's hands and struck the center of the darkened void. The darkness shattered like glass as the gate opened for them.

In one heart wrenching moment, Elyssia saw her homeland torn asunder, surrendering to the nightmare of Chaos. Then it was gone, replaced by a raging waterfall. Glavian stood in crystal clear water up to his withers, the rainbow tinted mists soaking his mane, plastering it to his arched neck.

"Come on, Glavian&" Elyssia whispered in a choked voice as he began to move towards the shore.

Behind them, tendrils of darkness leeched into the water from under the waterfall. A shadow given life. It was the cries of terror from the water spirits, the undines that caught Elyssia's attention as the darkness solidified and lashed out at the pair. Glavian reared as Elyssia leapt from his back, her hand reaching for the sword at her hip. The mirror polished steel hissed clear of the wooden sheath, blade gleaming in the bright sunlight.

Elyssia's heart pounded as she faced the shade that followed her and Glavian from the Gates of Sleep. She would not allow this vile creature desecrate the land of mortals as easily as it had done the realm of Dreams. Her violet eyes narrowed, as the spray from the waterfall plastered her silver-gilt hair and her silken clothing against her skin. She was older than time in mortal standards, but young to the people within the Dream, and scared out of her mind. Nothing like this had ever broken free of the Shade's realm in the history of her people.

As the beast pulled itself free of the closing gate, it took the shape of a Dragon, its wings a living midnight shadow, its' hungry eyes the color of a bloody moon. It wasn't particularly large, only a little larger than Glavian really, but its menace poured shadows into the realm& and the clearing darkened to a twilight&

"NO!" She cried, raising her blade, whispering the words of prayer to Liefe hoping beyond hope that someone would come to her aid, and the sword began to shine&

02/14/2007 6:45 PM

Lady Kristen brushed her hair from her face as she sat in the secluded shade of the forest. She listened to the waterfall crash against the rocks and the birds twitter in the nest overhead. Champagne stood calmly pawing at the waters edge, eating the sweet blades of young grass. She recited the poetry from the book in front of her, commiting it to memory. She sighed as the romantic verse left her lips, and looked at her armor drying in the warm summer sun. She put the book on her lap and stretched her arm behind her head letting the words run from her mouth once more, her audience the limb full of birds. She closed her eyes and let the aroma of roses drift into her nose, causing her to drift into sleep.

Kristen looked around looking for the familiar scenery of her dreams. Her cottage on the hill over looking the the rolling green plains of her home. She was instead knee deep in a thick, slimy bayou. Her home was wrapped in creepers, they had pushed out the glass of her windows, engulfed the door. Termites had eaten away at her wooden home and... what was wrapping around her leg? She reachd for her sword but found her limbs were moving painfully slow, her sword weighed down by the stinking water around her. She struck downward and hit something, the blow should have been stronger with the amount of muscle she put behind it, instead it barely scratched the surface. The beast sprang from the water, mutated and bloody, rotting flesh, bulging folds of skin hanging off an ogre like frame. his eyes were melting, dripping down his face to a stitched shut mouth. She tried to run, tried to lift her feet from the water but found she had no control over them. They laid like castle bricks in the water.
"No!" He bellowed as he lifted a meaty fist, porcupined with needles sticking from his flesh, and went to strike her.

She woke with a start. She rarely had nightmares, and it had been years since she had, had one that bad. She looked up a woman stood with a sword poised over her head. She was holding off a small dragon. She grabbed at her sword lying in the grass besie her and stood to help the woman. She waded ino the water taking a defensive stance.

02/15/2007 7:54 AM

The sword that Elyssia carried began to shine with the light reminescent of her world, and the shadow creature howled in fury. She heard the soft splashes of water behind her and glanced at the approaching woman. In the momentary distraction, the shadow beast reared up and lashed out with wicked looking talons. Glavian trumpeted in warning, the unicorn dancing to the side, snorting in alarm.

Elyssia whipped her head around to stare at the beast. The sword was still held before her like a ward. "Help me! I cannot move the blade, if I do, Shadow will consume the light and we will have no defense against it!"

02/15/2007 12:25 PM

Lady Kristen took up her own blade and charged, as gracefully as one can through water, towards the beast. The woman sounded distressed, looked wearied by some great burden. Normally she whe would not interfere in the affairs or conflicts of others but this creature had an air about it, not just because of the midnight wings, or the gleaming red eyes, but it eminated pure chaos. She swung her blessed blade, hoping to strike down hard on the creatures head. It screeched at her as the blow instead cut into a black scaled arm. she reversed the swing and chopped up at the neck striking it again. The thing did not ooze black blood as black dragons should but it seemed that she had opened a vortex to open on the creature and all its sorry scaled hide was being sucked into a different dimension where she struck him. She paried a taloned wing, a clawed demonic foot and sliced again. Another vortex opened taing with it the beass good arm. Slowly the whole thing disipated, sucking into itself and dissapering in the mist of the waterfall.
"What in the goddesses good name was that?"

02/19/2007 7:19 AM

Whispering a small prayer to the light, Elyssia lowered her sword. The bright shine fading as she did. The clearing had returned to normal. THe gathering shadows had faded, returning sunlight to the grove.

"A nightmare. A small one mind you, but dangerous all the same." Elyssia frowned and turned her gaze back to the waterfall.

The waters, once clear as crystal had darkened considerably. "The gates are failing. That which once was only a dream will gain physical form here in this plane. Nightmares that won't fade once you wake." She backed away from the dark eddies of water, retreating to the shore. Glavian didn't hesitate to follow her, there was nothing he could do against this kind of poison in the water.

"We need to get out of here. The gates will fail and I need to find a way to reseal them. Is there a town nearby?" Elyssia asked, keeping a wary eye on the darkened waters.

02/19/2007 9:06 AM

Lady Kristen followed the young woman out of the waters, looking at the tall unicorn. She had never actually seen one and she had started to think they were a thing of myth.

"The closest building is a temple not to far out west of here. It isn't much but it can repair armor, sell healing, provide small amounts of provisions."

She began placing her armor on, and saddling the more than spooked stallion.

"The next closest actual town I can think of is about a days ride from here. Maybe half a day if you ride hard, of course you have to reach the road first to do that. I am terribly sorry to ask this question but did you say that thing was a nightmare?"

She eyed the darkening water, scrunching her brow at the disconcerting stillness it brought to the surface, the familiarity between it and the water in her own nightmare.

"I have seen many a strange beast in my travels, heard many a warped tale but an actual nightmare taking corporeal form. I must say that is strange. None the less I can lead you to the town, or the temple it is your chioce either way." She swung onto her mount as her armour only truly consisted of a breast plate and some armoured shin guards she was not hindered by a full suit of armour. She took up her reins, Champagne pawing at the ground, breathing heavily at the shadowed water.

"Which way mi'lady?"

02/19/2007 9:40 AM

Elyssia looked to Glavian, and the unicorn did a very near parody of a shrug. His silvery hide gleamed in the dim sunlight, his golden horn catching the light and reflecting it. Glavian's deep violet eyes met Kirsten's for several seconds before he snorted, and paced closer to Elyssia so she could climb up.

"Glavian thinks the Temple would be just fine. We need to warn those who are near to here to stay away... then we can probably find our way from there." Elyssia ran her slender fingers through her damp silvery hair. "Yes, a Nightmare... perhaps I can explain further once we get away from here..."

Elyssia shivered. First Elyssian, the realm of dreams. Now the Nightmare was spreading, sending its tendrils of bad dreams through the Gates of Sleep into the material plane. This was very diconcerning indeed.

02/20/2007 9:51 AM

Kristen nodded and nudged her horse forward. Something told her haste woul be necessary and a gallop soon ensued. It was difficult through forested terrain but she had spent ost of her summers here and knew some trodden paths.

The temple was perhaps no more than a half hour ride, and they came upon it with ease. The priests came out to greet her taking her foamy mouthed horse for her and leading it to the stables for a cool down.

"Dear Jason this young lady needs to speak with the high priest here. She comes bearing a warning and -"
"My child," The old mans hand squeezed her shoulder. "I am teribly afraid that the old man passed away in his sleep not too long ago."

Kristens teeth pressed against eachother, he had been a good man. "Well then I am sure whatever need be said can be said to you." She looked toward the still mounted lady, "This is Jason, a dear friend of mine. If you need tell your tale then it is he you should talk to. He can spread the word to the rest."

02/21/2007 11:20 AM

Elyssia was faintly amused that neither showed any reaction to either Glavian or herself, as both of their races rarely stepped out of the Dream. "Was the priest sickly?" She asked, her musical voice brought a glimmer of surprise to the younger priest. She knew without asking, actually. The nightmare would spread, and drive those it could, mad... and destroy those it couldn't.

"Sleep and dreams will soon become a very dangerous luxury..." She said, patting Glavian's shoulder. The unicorn snorted and fixed the priest ahead of him with a steady stare. The voice that issued from the beasts mouth, was deep and rumbling, like distant thunder.

"An ancient darkness, known as the Nightmare, has broken free of the land of dreams. Of which my Lady Elyssia was ruler till the Darkness swallowed it and changed it into nightmares. We must warn all we can, that the Gates of sleep are failing, and soon the Nightmares will be free to wreak havoc upon your world."

Elyssia placed her hand on Glavian's shoulder and then spoke. "We must search for something that was hidden in this realm long before the gates were sealed against those who would wish to dwell within dreams forever. It was sent here because of its danger to those among the Dream, but without it, we cannot seal away the Darkness."

02/21/2007 2:06 PM

The hunter Kivan cried out in despair as he tried in vain to prevent his body from slipping further into this crack in the earth. Unaware of blood pouring profusely from beneath finger nails, he clawed at the rock surface as his body slid down deeper. Clothing was ripped and flesh on his knees and elbows scraped away until he finally ground to halt. This was no dream. He could smell the earthy stench of sulphur. He could feel the cold rock surrounding his body and the familiar conscious sensation of physical pain.

There was no light here deep within the earth and the thought entered Kivan's mind that he might have passed away in his sleep and was now entering Hell.

[i]What have I ever done to deserve this?[/i]

Kivan wriggled slightly refusing to accept his predicament. To his surprise he noticed a pale glow beneath his feet. Deep violet in colour glow seemed to grow brighter as he squirmed his body towards it. Stretching his hand down towards his feet Kivan felt the cold touch of a first sized stone. As his hand clamped around it and he raised it to gaze upon, the stone seemed to warm slightly and filled his body with a comfortable, pleasant sensation.

Tired from his exertion, Kivan felt content to stay put for a moment and simply enjoy holding this strange purple coloured stone. His body felt tired and heavy, his aching limbs became relaxed but he did not release his grip upon the stone. A few seconds later Kivan was drifting off into a deep sleep.

He dreamed of the night before this nightmare had engulfed him. He dreamed of sleeping beneath the trees, he dreamed of the sounds and smells of the forest. He dreamed that he would wake up from this nightmare in which the earth had swallowed him up.

Enjoying the pleasant dream he slowly became aware that the sensation of being back in the forest was becoming more real. The warmth of the stone left his hands and was replaced by the cold hard feel of an ordinary stone. Kivan opened his eyes to look down at the stone. It was still there, an unusual looking purple, violet stone, but he was no longer peering at it from the blackness of some crack in the earth. Kivan was stood exactly where he had drifted off to sleep last night! There was no sign of a crack in the earth beneath his feet. His clothes were ripped, his hands and knees were bloodied, and the stone was very real right there in his hands.

[Edited by Flark on Thursday, February 22, 2007 7:48 AM]

02/23/2007 11:54 AM

Elyssia watched as the sun slowly crossed its zenith and began its slow descent. Glavian's shoulder twitched and she rested her forhead against it. As she closed her eyes, she could sense the torment of those that remained within the Dream, knowing that there was no way she could physically aid them at this point.

For the fist time since her flight from her Kingdom, tears threatened. Her heart was heavy with the events that had passed. Glavian arched his neck and draped his head over her shoulder. "Will you play for me?" He asked, grief tainting his deep voice.

Elyssia smiled and stiffled her tears. She retrieved a small lute that she had hidden near the saddlepad. Glavian bent his forlegs and dropped gracefully to the earth. Elyssia settled beside him, leaning slightly against one flank. Glavian arched his proud neck and flicked his ears towards her, catching every sound as she quickly tuned the lute, and began to sing.

The elvan Queen's voice wove its own kind of enchantment as she sang, each inflection brought an intense sensation with it, the listener would experiance the power within the song, and even see what Elyssia herself had seen, and what she envisioned for the future of their worlds...

"Is it true what they say?
Are we too blind to find a way?
Fear of the unknown
Clouds our hearts today.

Come into my world,
See through my eyes.
Try to understand,
Don't want to lose what we have.

We've been dreaming
But who can deny?
It's the best way of living
Between the truth and the lies.

See who I am,
Break through the surface.
Reach for my hand,
Let's show them that we can
Free our minds and find a way.
The world is in our hands,
This is not the end.

Fear is withering the soul
At the point of no return.
We must be the change we wish to see.

I'll come into your world,
See through your eyes.
I'll try to understand,
Before we lose what we have.

We just can't stop believing
Because we have to try.
We can rise above their truth and their lies.

See who I am,
Break through the surface.
Reach for my hand,
Let's show them that we can
Free our minds and find a way.
The world is in our hands.

This is not the end.

I hear their silence
Preaching my blame.
Will our strength remain
If their power reigns?

See who I am,
Break through the surface.
Reach for my hand,
And show them that we can
Free our minds and find a way.
The world is in our hands.

This is not the end."**

** Song is "See who I am" Performed by "Within Temptation"

02/24/2007 2:10 PM

Lady Kristen sat, eanmored by the elf's music, finding it made her want to drift off to sleep. She shook off the notion, questions instead filling her mind where once the music had dwelled.

"So you come from the realm of dreams." She said it more to get a grip on the reality around her than as a question. "He comes from the realm of dreams," She pointed to the elegant unicorn. "And now the realm of dreams have been taken over by a nightmare that threatens this plane of existence as well." She let out a breath to push the strand of hair over from her eye. "Oh my dear elf, this is quite the story."

She looked at her horse pawing, as usual, and reaching his big rubbery lips to pick at the grass. "And you need our help to find what was once lost?" That was a question. The elf nodded. "I could only imagine where we would start I'm not entirely sure what I am even looking for." She sat in front of the fire poking it idely with a stick watching the sparks fly into the air and dance back to earth where they turned cold and dark.

"Perhaps if we went to the ancient town of Kelpas? They have a fairly large stash of books there, perhaps even information on what you are looking for. A fair bit of different monastaries too, maybe some who know of your plane?" The thoughts flowed from her head to her lips with less grace than she would have liked. She blinked at the fire, the heat spreading unevenly across her face.

"What do I do when I sleep? I mean can I sleep? Will dream catchers work?" Oh she was an inquisitive one tonight, but the thought of returning to that wretched swamp with the fleshy beast was not on her priority list. She looked at the elf, the crackling fire reflecting in her sad eyes. "Is there anything we can do?"

02/24/2007 3:26 PM

It was a pleasant morning in the forest. The trees were filled with songbirds, and sunbeams flickered through the dense branches overhead. It was unlike Kivan to be trekking through the forest with his mind on anything else but his surrounding or the current task in hand. Unlike any other day in this simple woodsman's life, today all of nature's beauty went unnoticed by him. His ripped clothes and the deep scratches covered with dry encrusted blood were also all but forgotten to him.

Kivan's cabin was a full day's walk from the spot he had pitched his camp last night. The strange events of last night played over in his mind, forcing him to up his pace. As beautiful as this part of the forest was, Kivan wanted nothing more right now than to get back into more familiar territory, and more specifically the comforts of his own log cabin. For a man who so usually enjoyed the escapism of being hundreds of miles from civilisation, today for the first time he actually felt... lonely.

There was no time to stop for breakfast. No time to leisurely fish by the stream. No time to enjoy the scents of this part of the forest so filled with life and beauty. With his head down Kivan marched purposefully on.

02/25/2007 7:07 AM

"About our sleep? yes..." Elyssia drew her sword free of its' leather sheath. Though the sun was still in the sky, she was grateful for the heat of the fire. She moved away from the flames, and brought the blade to her lips. The polished steel gleamed in her hands as she lightly kissed the blade, then drove it down into the earth at her feet.

A flash of light akin to lightning filled the clearing. The bright flash dulled to a cool glow that surrounded the sword. While it wasn't as fiercly bright as it was when they were fighting the Shadow Dragon, the light did drive away any lingering shadows.

"As long as my power remains intact, the nightmare cannot draw near to us. We can sleep in peace."

Glavian snorted and shook his heavy mane. "Tis a shame you don't know what it is we search for M'lady."

Elyssia frowned. "I have ruled the Dream since the begining of what mortals call 'time', and yet there were countless others who ruled Elyssian before me. That my Mother named me for the land seemed Ill luck. I am young in comparison to the age of our world, Glavian. I only know that what we search for is somewhere in this world... what it is was never revealed to me."

She sighed and stared into the firelight. "We should go to the city you speak of, Kelpas... perhaps we can learn of something there..."

02/26/2007 10:19 AM

Kristen watched the blade sink into the Earth it sent a strange warming sensation through her body. It was comforting to say the least.

"Well then shall we depart now? It could take us a few days to reach the place." She retied her her sword to her belt wgile she stood. Tugging at her clothing here and there. Compared to this otherwordly beauty, youthful and elegant she felt old. She asumed the best thing to do would be to saddle up.

Jason came out and handed her a small pack to tie up with her saddlebags. She thanked him but did not check to see what goodies he had put inside. She thanked him for his hospitality and went to tack up her horse.

02/26/2007 2:03 PM

It was dusk by the time Kivan arrived back at his sturdy little log cabin. Being well used to travelling long distances he was a remarkably fit man, but from a combination of a less than prefect nights sleep, no food, and the bloodied state of his body, Kivan felt close to the point of exhaustion.

Breathing heavily he stooped in front of the solid oak door to his cabin and removed a leather strap from around his neck which held a crude looking iron key. He unlocked the door, stumbled inside and then locked it again behind him.

It was almost pitch blackness inside the cabin, but Kivan didn't need light to make the familiar couple of steps across the small room towards his bed. Without even taking off his boots he let his aching body fall onto the soft stuffed mattress and closed his eyes. Laying motionless for only a few seconds was long enough for the tired woodsman to begin falling asleep. As his conscious mind drifted away, a warm shade of violet began to glow from beneath his tunic. Gradually the light grew brighter until it's rays began to penetrate the cloth and fill the room with a deep purple hue.

It was a beautiful dream. Kivan's body felt fresh and exuberant as he floated high above a wondrous alien landscape. The sky was a pale shade of violet with deep purple puffy looking clouds passing beneath him. Peering below as far as the eye could see there was no ground beneath him.

Kivan twisted his body to change the direction of his flight. There was a darkness behind him, a seemingly endless black pit which seemed to be sucking both sky and cloud towards it, pulling, swallowing, eating up this majestic paradise. He turned his body back around to fly away, but doing so he felt a strong wind at his face. Trying in vain to fly away he realised he was as powerless as a feather blowing in a storm. The nothingness was pulling him in. Faster he gained speed until he was flying like an arrow fired from a bow. The clouds disappeared and the sky turned a midnight blue. Giant shade-like claws reached out from the black pit before him to grasp at his ankles.

Kivan screamed.

Struggling and flailing there was nothing around him but darkness now. Darkness and the stone! It was seemingly only a few feet away but it could have been a million miles. Only the stone could rescue him from this nightmare. If only he could touch it! With his hands outstretched he leaped towards it with every ounce of strength which remained in his body...

02/27/2007 9:12 AM

Elyssia freed the sword from its brief prison and re-sheathed the weapon. Glavian had clamored to his feet, a muscle twitching nervously on his neck as Elyssia pulled herself up onto his broad back.

"Let us go then. Staying here will not stop this madness from spreading. We'll ride all night if we must..."

03/05/2007 1:29 PM

Kivan woke in an awkward, twisted and painful position with a foul taste of dried blood in his mouth. The first light of dawn was beginning to pierce the cracks around the door and illuminate the room.

Picking himself up from the floor he stopped on all fours and stared at the wooden floorboards. His head was thumping and the room seemed to be spinning somewhat. Several moments passed before he finally felt the energy and the steadiness to slowly stand up. He couldn't recall what exactly had happened last night, though he felt much relieved at seeing the precious stone still in his grasp and was sure it must have saved his life again last night.

Rubbing his painful jaw with one hand, he lent against the wall with the other and shuffled towards the door. After several more moments of fumbling with the key and lock he pushed the door open and staggered outside, making his way towards the nearby stream.

Cupping his hands he washed away the dried blood from his face and drank from the ice cold stream. The cold water felt very refreshing and good on his skin. Deciding to strip off his ripped, bloodstained and filthy clothes Kivan waded out naked into the stream and lay down, allowing the free flowing current to massage his ravaged body.

When he finally emerged back out of the water, Kivan felt clean and fully invigorated. His movement was more fluid and purposeful now. He picked up his old clothes and carried them back into the cabin, tossing them in the corner. In another corner of the small cabin was a knee high, sturdy looking wooden chest. Still naked and dripping wet, Kivan bent down and opened up the heavy lid to examine the contents inside...

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