Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

26th of Ashan 721

A small island with an active volcano, Faldrass is the home to Saoire's school and to the Faldrass Induk.

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Kisaik
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Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

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26th of Ashan, Evening time, Arc 721
It was nighttime, and Kisaik was getting ready to greet his friends by the campfire in Vega and Arlo's clan's camp. He'd heard that more people would be coming too, someone named Doran (Kisaik wondered if he was related to Professor Doran Thetys who'd taught him alchemy?). And anyway, Kisaik was pleased to meet more friends of Vega and also her Husband. That would be a special honor. Softly, Kisaik sighed, wishing his best buddy in all of Idalos, Rabu, could be there. His cloudy thoughts could only sour his mood so much, however, in such good company.

Kisaik put on his hat, an old tattered adventurer's hat, with a wide brim to dim the light of the sun, but not so wide that it blocked him from locking eyes with any of the tall folk. Of which, there were many in Hopetoun and Vega's camp within it. Kisaik had invited Kirt to the storytelling session, but wasn't sure if he'd actually show. He had to get his rest, as he said, to get up early in the morning to tend the fields and orchard. Kisaik understood completely, being a farmer was quite a responsibility, and his was great toward the community of Hopetoun.

So, as Kisaik chewed on a Nashaki cactus thorn in his mouth (which he'd grown from his head a few days from before), he waited for his friends to arrive. He had many tales to tell of his adventures, but was hoping that each among the gathering would share what they could of their own travels and experiences. That was half the fun of camping, afterall!

Kisaik had the wood all gathered for a fire, and the kindling. All it needed now was someone or someones to light it. He daren't try it himself. As daring and fearless as Kisaik could be at times, he wasn't that daring. He wouldn't risk catching fire unless it was absolutely necessary. He would rethink his care around flames, perhaps, when he had a source of fire-proof gear, but for now he was careful of the flames.

His gleaming green eyes peered into the shadows of the camp, wondering when the people would begin to arrive for storytime. Eventually, when someone did show, Kisaik would hop up and greet them, "Hullo! Welcome to the camp! I hope you're ready to share some stories with us?"



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Doran
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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

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It had been a while since he had taken part in something like that, the son of Ziell considered as he made his way to the campfire in Vega’s and Arlo’s camp, in an evening of stories and, perhaps, food and drink. In Etzos he had been asked to talk about what he had done during the battle at Treid’s Tomb, to the people in power as well as to common citizens, of course. He had not enjoyed that though, not even back before he had realized that he had been wrong, about him, about Xiur, and about the world in general. In contrast, he was curious about what Vega and her husband that he had not met yet had invited him to. He was relaxed, and there was even a hint of a smile on his face.

He was more casually dressed than he normally was. Instead of one of his customary dark suits, Doran wore dark pants, a shirt and a vest, well-made, but understated, sturdy boots and a coat, and he carried a leather bookbag that contained some of his notes. His experience when it came to storytelling was comparatively small, everything considered, but perhaps Mrs. and Mr. Creede and the mysterious Tunawa knight Sir Chip would be interested in hearing about certain aspects of his research. What he had learned about Enri Von Smooglenuff’s son had the potential of being entertaining, for example.

When he reached the fire – apparently, he realized, he was only the second person to arrive – and noticed the Tunawa that was already waiting there, he looked at him for a moment before he raised a hand in a greeting. He did not remember every student that he had taught over the course of the arcs, especially not if the interaction with the student in question had been relatively brief – there had been hundreds of students - but a Tunawa that was capable of making his legs two feet long and that possessed a magical artifact was hard to forget.

He had been rather harsh back then, he considered.

“Good evening, Sir Chip”, he spoke in a polite tone of voice and smiled at him before he replied in the affirmative, “I have indeed come to share a few stories. I have brought a few things that you might find entertaining, and I hope we’ll also hear some of your stories. I have to admit, what Mrs. Creede told me about you has made me curious”, he added. Vega had called him a Warden of the First Tree, for example, and she seemed to think that he was indeed a knight. That was a story that he would not mind hearing, and what more, it pleased him that Sir Chip had apparently continued to practice alchemy - provided that he was indeed who he thought that he was.

“I remember a Tunawa student that was capable of extending his legs at will, a rather intelligent student. That was you, wasn’t it?” he asked in order to be sure that he was not mistaken when it came to Sir Chip’s identity. “How have you been since then?” he wanted to know – it was always interesting to hear what a former student had been up to after they had left university, especially someone like Sir Chip.

“I’m afraid I have not brought anything to light a fire with”, he added and glanced at the campfire that was very obviously not burning, furrowing his brow very lightly as he did so. “But with any luck, Mrs. or Mr. Creede have thought of it”, he finished and briefly took a look around – apparently, they were late – before he turned to face Sir Chip again and waited for him to answer, or for the rest of the people to finally arrive.
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Vega
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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!


26th Ashan

"Come on then," she said, with a smile "I'm well lookin' forward to this."

Vega held on tightly to Arlo's hand as they walked back to their camp. They'd been on the beach together, sitting and skimming stones out on the water. Now that their family knew about the pregnancy, time alone was more difficult to come by. It transpired that Vega had not been exaggerating when she said that their biqaj clan-members would be happy and immediately involved. Vega had made Lily cry at least twice by the simple expedient of believing that being pregnant did not mean that people could touch her, poke at her, try to touch her stomach or ask personal questions. Earlier that afternoon, Vega had been visited by Xiur and that meant that she - and Doran - had, as she put it, something of a job on. She'd discussed it with Arlo, sitting together on the beach. What she was thinking, how they might work together.

She didn't even notice that she hadn't asked him if he was going to help. She didn't need to ask him, and doing so would have been bordering on insulting, she knew. Of course he was going to help, and that relieved her enormously. "We can tell them, now, I reckon?" Vega said. "An' this is goin' to be right up your street. You've got so many stories to think of for the baby, Arlo. I'll do the lullabyes, you do the stories?" Her hand in his squeezed gently. "You're gonna be the best Papa, you are. An' think about it," she said, shoulder bumping him. "If we're really rubbish parents, then your Papa an' mine can sort it out." Come to think of it, she thought, they might end up having to fight the grandfathers away. He knew what her emotions were, even if her eyes hadn't been a giveaway to begin with.

But her eyes were a giveaway. They were still, unmoving. No colours swirled or clashed, no frantic frenzy. Just two colours, green and pink, and she grinned at him. "I like bein' me," she said. "I've decided that me is one of the best people I could be." She was happy. Just happy. It didn't mean she was better or even that the horrors of Storm's Edge were going away - they certainly weren't gone. But moments happened. Moment by moment, hour by hour and day by day things got better. She got better.

And so, with a spring in her step, Vega walked into camp alongside her husband. "Wotcha, hello!" Vega smiled around. "Jus' so we all know. Sir Chip, Doran, Arlo. I'm Vega, nice to meet you." She put her cloak down and, without ceremony, got started on the fire by rubbing a twig against another. Then, she sat on her cloak. "So, the plan is that we're goin' to tell stories aroun' the campfire, yes?" She grinned, delighted at that. "We love doin' that, of an evenin'. We quite often do as a family, an' it's right nice to bid you welcome to our camp. It's righ' nice to share an evenin' with friends." Settling down, comfortably, Vega fell quiet for a moment. "Xiur came into camp today," she said. "An' he asked Doran an' I to build a beacon of hope for a ship full of slaves what is comin' here. We've got some idea, but we'd like your help, Sir Chip." Taking her husband's hand, she smiled. She'd planned a story to tell, to give them a build up, but in the end - as she so often did - Vega blurted out what she was thinking. "An', now seems like a good time to tell you that Arlo an' I have a great adventure about to start." Her eyes swirled in green and pink and gold. "I'm pregnant." Vega said it, simply, clearly. "An' I'd like to tell our baby all the stories we can about our lives, an' our adventures, an', most importantly, about family an' friends."

With a slight grin, she continued. "An' Arlo is the best storyteller on Idalos, bar none. So, be prepared." With a gentle (for her) elbow in his side, she nodded to him, encouragingly. "Come on then, Arlo Creede. Start us off?"
word count: 736
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Vega's skin has a reflective metallic sheen with a red glow. Her eyes still swirl biqaj colours, but one colour is always bright red which glows like fire. She has a bright red glow in her chest, situated directly under the mark of a heart (Daia mark) in the middle of a glowing silver dragon on her chest (Xiur). She's unnaturally warm to the touch
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Arlo Creede
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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

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It was nice to get away for a while, first just the two of them, him and Vega; and then to keep company and socialize with others who didn't happen to be their family. Not that Arlo didn't appreciate the benefits of having family around. He did, very much, and found a great deal of value in the unquestioned loyalty, support and fellowship. But sometimes, especially starting the moment they'd learned that Vega was expecting, it could become just a little too much. And very, very quickly.

Of course if Arlo's own mother had still be around, she'd be fussing over Vega as much as allowed, but in her own quiet way. He always missed her, still, every trial. But lately more so. She'd have loved the idea of becoming a grandmother. As for Jonas, Arlo's own mortal father, he must have been feeling it too and had been a little more quiet, more sentimental than usual lately. Be all that as it may, it was good to rub elbows with others for a handful of breaks, and set all that fussing aside for a while.

"You don't like my singing?" he'd teased her along the way when she suggested that he should handle the telling of stories, and her, the songs and lullabies. Of course they both knew which of them was the better singer. By far. And it wasn't him. "I like you too," he said, grinning and bumping her shoulder gently, fondly when she revealed that she liked being her just fine. "I mean, you're alright. Passable even," he teased again before ducking out of the way before she could dig her knuckles into his shoulder or forearm.

Arlo didn't really know Doran, though he knew enough to match name to face, and what Vega had told him. As for Sir Chip, Arlo knew him less but any potential friend of Vega's was a potential friend of his. "Evening," he said, smiling when they arrived and he extended his hand to both Kisaik and Doran in turn. "Thank you for the invite. I'd build us a fire but it appears that Vega has beat me to it." So that said, he found himself the wide edge of a log to sit on, and settled in.

He smiled again, proudly, when Vega announced their impending parenthood to the pair gathered with them alongside the fire. To be honest, it wouldn't surprise him if the whole island already knew. Once they'd told the rest of the family, could either of the twin sisters in law be trusted not to blab it all over the island? Another good reason, Arlo figured, that they'd decided to wait. "I don't know about the best," he said when Vega praised his talent at telling stories. After all, Idalos was a big place, and he descended from one of the most prolific storytellers there was. "But I guess I can take a jab at spinning the first yarn of the evening."

Though to be honest he'd have been more content to go last, or second or third for that matter. Leave it to Vega to volunteer him without a second thought. "If no one objects, that is?" he asked, already contemplating what story he might tell. He'd made up a number of stories in his time, from very early on. Some had come straight from his own imagination, and others in the wake of some adventure or other he'd had. Or misadventure, which was just as often, as not. But recalling a conversation he'd had with Jonas early that trial, Arlo grinned at the memory.

"When I was a kid," he told them all, "I used to duck out from the farm chores that my father Jonas had lined up for me, and stole away with my friends to make trouble and tell stories. Tall tales and the like. But the best ones were always stories about ghosts and fantastical beasts. The ones we told each other to prove that we were fearless, but the same ones that kept us up at night, worrying about monsters under the bed. But the one I've always loved most, the one that cost me the most sleep was the one that my mortal father Jonas passed down to me, long before I was ready."

"It's a little early in the trial for stories about ghosts and monsters. They're always better under the moonlight," Arlo admitted. "But, since I was prematurely volunteered," he said with a mock frown at Vega before going on. "Now most stories the likes of this one are myth mixed with legend. But my father swears to be that this one is true, and that the antagonist of the story is real. Therefore, a cautionary tale passed down from his father to him, his father before him and on and on. It's said the story, and the living legend itself, is older than time and that the first Creede to tell it, had seen the beast with his very own eyes and survived it."

"Forgive the rhyming and unusual syntax," Arlo added before the story began in earnest. "The first Creede considered himself a poet of sorts. Nonetheless, take care and beware..." he said, tone serious and foreboding.

"Fair warning to the faint of heart,
This tale is true, each fright'ning part.
T'is rare the man that lives to tell,
But mark my words, and hear them well,"
Arlo began, his voice and tone settling into the somewhat foreboding nature of the story, his eyes meeting those of each of those gathered in turn, as if to warn each of them personally.

"There lives a beast so vile to see,
Observed by few, but one is me.
And all who've seen him, those of us,
Have named him…Skeeterwampulus.

Moon and star shone bright that night,
This fearsome beastie took his flight;
Before mine eyes, 'cross fields of gold,
A sight to make men's blood run cold.
Through stalks of waving wheat he lumbered,
Whilst each farmhouse gently slumbered.
No silence broke to mark his passing;
Save my heart, it's frightful beating.

Shorter than a man by two,
With eyes that glowed cerulean blue,
And claws that dripped with crimson streams,
That spoke of oft' nightmarish dreams.
Hunched shoulders broad, but body slight,
With scaly wings to lend him flight.
No clothing worn across his back,
Instead was cloaked with hair of black.

He gleamed like satin in the night,
Sharp teeth, tipped scarlet, flashing bright.
And grinning from a maw so broad,
There came a ghastly, slav'ring flood.
His head, tri-cornered, beady eyed,
But t'was his nose, the worst was spied.
A hollow lance was in it's stead,
Of length to fill a soul with dread.

With scaly skin and sharpened tip,
It drooped and curved so he might sip;
The lifeblood from both man and beast.
…A grisly, ghastly, wretched feast.


So t'was not wisdom made me follow,
But trouble that I tend to borrow.
I shadowed him through field and wood,
And kept his pace as best I could.
T'was then I saw a fright'ning site,
And realized then my likely plight.
My homestead was his destination,
The barn, in fact, exact location.

He slipped inside, and I just after,
Up he crept, towards loft and rafter.
Into predawn shadows peering,
Eyes met mine, expression sneering.
So it was, he roosted there,
In fresh cut hay and musty air.
He grinned at me, fangs flashing bright,
And said, 'I've had my fill tonight.'

And so, my friends, I've lived to tell,
And wise are those who hear me well.
Beware of hayloft, barn and rafter,
Best before, than mourn it after.

And so, though few have seen this sight
Take one last warning from our plight.
Do not disturb, say those of us,
The nap of Skeeterwampulus."


And when Arlo was done, finally, with his story, a family inheritance one might say, he glanced at Vega and winked. "I'll take you up on that deal. You the singer and me the storyteller. And one trial I'll pass the legend down to our own son or daughter, to pass down to theirs. But, I promise not to tell it until he or she is old enough not to lay awake and worry about monsters under the bed."
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Kisaik
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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

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Kisaik perked up when he saw who first arrived at the camp, "Oh my! Professor Thetys, how do you do, yes it's I Kisaik! Remember? You introduced me to the delicious Fist Nut, and taught a lesson in chemistry and toxicology..." Kisaik held up his pendant, with the mirror on it which allowed him to communicate in any language. "You probably don't recognize me in my full armor."

Kisaik nodded, "Yes that was me!" As if to demonstrate, Kisaik lengthened his legs, up to four feet, but still had to crane his neck to look up at Doran. "I've been well enough, Sir! All kinds of adventures since Viden, or rather, one after another. Not long after we met, I returned to Desnind, to see my people." Kisaik furrowed his leafy brow at that but said nothing more of the incident. It was not a pleasant memory, and he had no wish to spoil the evening so early.

"Yes I'm sure the Creedes will be along shortly, and they are very handy with setting camps and such. Mister Arlo is a great cook! And Lady Vega can hit an invisible bird at a hundred yards with a bow! So we'll probably have plenty to eat if they have anything to say of it."

Then, as he was speaking to Doran, the couple arrived within line of sight of Kisaik, his eyes gleamed with magic as he perceived them in the dark, and he brimmed with happiness to see them. "Hullo Lady Vega, Mister Arlo!" Kisaik retracted his legs, back down to normal size, and then blinked with a flash of rupture magic, onto the shoulder of Doran. With a pop, he appeared on his shoulder and took a seat there if he was allowed.

He looked with wonder at Vega's claim that an Immortal, Xiur, had come to visit both Vega and Doran. Yet he believed it, as incredible as it seemed. Vega and Doran were two very capable and impressive people, surely they were worthy of Immortal attention if anyone was.

But then, they had the idea of asking for his help. Or rather Vega did. "Of course! I would be glad to be of service!" Kisaik smiled and nodded, he had ideas already brewing in his mind, for other improvements to make around Hopetoun, adventures to be had, and tasks to be fulfilled.

"Oh! You're with sprout!" Kisaik said, then forgetting himself. He slapped his forehead, remembering that humans and creatures like them, not plants, didn't have sprouts, but grew their babies in their bellies. "I mean, Ataja had an inkling that something was different about you Vega if you don't mind my saying. I think she can sense the baby growing inside!" Kisaik clapped his hands together, very exciting!

Then, it was time for Arlo to introduce himself to the pair. Kisaik had sampled some of his food while here but hadn't had much of a chance to speak to the man himself. He was eager to make his acquaintance as well.

As Vega had invited him to tell the first story, Kisaik was eager to hear it, and waited for him to tell the tale.

Kisaik didn't interrupt, but the idea of a ghost story intrigued him greatly. He was no stranger to the spiritual world underlying their own and had even met a ghost in Rharne. She had been a sad and melancholy spirit. Not the scary type really.

But a scary tale was the one they'd be hearing. So Kisaik settled down to listen, and let him tell it.

Arlo's tone really set the first lines of the story/poem. And Kisaik found himself almost forgetting where he was, as he was drawn into the imagery of the scene he was setting.

Skeeterwampulus... It sounded horrible! And yet somewhat amusing. Perhaps setting the audience off-balance for the horrific accounts of its terrible deeds.

Kisaik shuddered to hear its description... It sounded almost like a man-sized mosquito... Horrible creatures that sucked the blood from living creatures such as humans, cats, dogs, and birds.

It seemed a proper cautionary tale to keep people from tramping and resting in strange barns or haylofts or rafters. Kisaik clapped his little hands as he applauded Arlo's story.

"That was absolutely horrifying! I could almost swear to have seen that creature, to hear you describe it! Sounds downright fiendish. Did you ever meet it again?" Kisaik shuddered on Doran's shoulder, as he sat.

Kisaik had an opinion on telling scary tales to children. In one sense they were necessary, to the point of setting a moral lesson in their mind and keeping them on track. But one could easily take it overboard. But Kisaik knew the Creedes were not cruel people, and he trusted them to only tell their little sprout scary tales when they were ready to hear them.
ooc
Heya! So the way I think we ought to do this, is we'll have reactions right up until the last person not to tell the story. So going in order of posting, we'll post our reactions to the last story told, and then when Vega is up, she'll tell a story, and we'll repeat the cycle until we come to Doran, and then finally Kisaik. Does that sound good?

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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

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“I’m fine, thank you very much“, Doran replied when the Tunawa greeted him quite enthusiastically and smirked as he remembered that particular lesson. He didn’t think that anybody had ever drunk a vial that was filled with a poisonous liquid before - and just complimented the bite that went so well with the flesh of the nut. He had taught his students how to prepare Fist Nuts that trial and remove the liquid from the nuts (which rendered them safe for consumption). He was, he had to admit, just as fascinated by the Tunawa’s ability to ingest toxic substances without suffering any ill side effects as he had been back then!

When Kisaik lengthened his legs, the Mortalborn who had himself under near-perfect control most of the time, raised an eyebrow, and a moment later, his eyes widened, and he actually had to refrain from applauding. Back when he had first met Kisaik, he had thought that the Tunawa might be a Becomer, but he knew better now. Becomers couldn’t lengthen their limbs at will, at least not like that. Llyr had talked about becoming a woman, and once he had even talked about becoming a cat (although he wasn’t sure if he had been serious about that). He had never mentioned anything like that though!

“Can you do the same with your arms, if you don’t mind me asking?” he inquired, in a curious, but nonetheless quite polite tone of voice. He normally curbed his curiosity and refrained from asking such questions as he considered them to be somewhat inappropriate, but Kisaik – or Sir Chip as Vega had called him – was quite an interesting person, he had to admit. “I look forward to hearing some of your stories”, he added. He really meant that. It sounded as if his former student had been leading quite an exciting life.

When Vega and her husband arrived, the Mortalborn who had taken a seat before, rose to his feet again, shook the other man’s hand and remarked, “It’s good to finally meet you, Mister Creede. Congratulations again, to both of you”, he added when Vega announced that she was pregnant again. He wanted to say more – she had already praised her husband’s skill as a cook before, but he also seemed to be an exceptionally skilled storyteller – when there was a flash all of a sudden. A moment later, Kisaik appeared on his shoulder, and Doran blinked and turned his head slightly in order to look at him.

He had met Immortals, and he had fought monsters, and invented a new branch of alchemy, all on his own, but he did not think that a Tunawa had ever taken a seat on his shoulder before!

(He didn’t question how Kisaik had ended up there though. It was, obviously, some sort of magic.)

“He did”, he confirmed with a mod when Vega told him that Xiur had come into camp. “He visited us shortly after I arrived myself. I’ll be grateful for your help. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable up there, by the way”, he added, referring to his shoulder that had become a Tunawa seat. “If it is, I’ll move a bit”, he offered before he adjusted his position slightly and very carefully and turned to listen to Arlo’s story. Vega had not exaggerated. He was good, more than just good, in fact, and as a consequence, the son of Ziell found himself quite engrossed in his story.

Unlike Kisaik, he did not shudder – he was not afraid – but he was quite fascinated, and he did not doubt for one trill that there was some truth to Arlo’s story. If Tanner Mantises that flayed their victims and covered themselves in their skins existed (he had killed one once, on the frozen plains outside Viden) and ancient creatures from the time of the Originals or before could be trapped under Scalvoris, the Skeeterwampulus might be real as well.

When Arlo had finished, Doran applauded, just like Kisaik, before he wanted to know, “Did you ever try to research the source of this legend and find out where the name comes from? I’m rather interested in such legends myself”, he admitted. He did in fact often relax with a book on mythology in front of the fireplace after work. Such things fascinated him just as much as science, and they allowed him to let his mind wander, and wonder.

When Kisaik shuddered on his shoulder, he looked at the Tunawa for a moment and offered him a reassuring smile before he turned to Arlo and Vega again and wanted to know, “Who will tell the next story? Vega, would you do us the favor?” he asked in a polite tone of voice and looked at the redhead, silently wondering if he should pick a different story, after all. He had a few stories about monsters of his own to tell, but then again, something more humorous to lighten the mood might be a good idea, depending on what Vega decided to go for.
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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!


She thanked the two of them for their congratulations, leaning against Arlo just a little as she did. The pride and delight the redhead felt was impossible to miss. But, an evening of storytelling suited her down to the ground and she took her place with eagerness. Sitting around the camp with their friends, Vega listened to Arlo's tale with an entranced expression on her face. She'd heard it before, of course, the legend of the Skeeterwumpulus - they'd shared a dream of it many arcs ago and he'd told it a few times since then. She beamed at Sir Chip as he appeared on Doran's shoulder and then, her husband's story kept her full attention.

When he finished, she grinned. "It's a terrifyin' thing, an' we'll be sure not to be tellin' this one too soon, eh?" Her hand briefly rested on her stomach - which currently showed no sign of the pregnancy at all. Sir Chip and Doran appreciated Arlo's tale as much as she did, and then Doran asked her to tell a story. Vega considered just for a moment, then, she began to speak.

"My story is about a mouse." Vega was not the storyteller that her husband was, but she was more than passing fair. "This mouse were small, even among other mice, an' it was weak an' often scared. The other mice they called him names, but This Mouse had one thing goin' for him. He was, without doubt, A Very Clever Mouse." Pausing, she looked at each of them and smiled. "But mice, as a rule, don't really appreciate clever. So, he was small, an' he was weak, an' he was often scared an' more often than anythin', he was alone."

Smoothing down her dress, she continued. "One trial, the mouse were out, walkin' in the woods. An' he heard a hoot-hoot of an owl. Oh, how he trembled. Fear gripped him an' made his little legs too scared to move. An' the owl landed in front of him an' looked at him." She shook her head, almost sadly. "An' the owl said - because in this story, owls talk - 'I'm hungry'. Jus' that. Nothin' more, an' just as the owl were about to grab the mouse in his talons, the mouse squeaked... 'WAAAAIIIIIIIIT!' he called." Vega's voice changed, she did voices for the owl and the mouse both.

"An' the owl waited jus' a moment, an' looked at him. 'If you eat me, the Schnizzlesnoot will get you!' he cried, though his whiskers were tremblin' somethin' fierce." Looking at them, she pulled a face. "But the owl had never heard of a Schnizzlesnoot. The owl didn't believe it. 'It's true!'" said the mouse. "It's taller than tall with big muscled paws, enormous fingers an' razor-sharp claws, an' it eats owls on bread for it's breakfast!! I'm meetin' it here,' the little mouse said an' the owl grew scared an' flew off to the tree. Now, the mouse was happy an' on he went, on his way. Soon, it met a snake, an' the snake looked at him. 'I'm hungry', the snake said. " Vega gave a small hiss for the snake and flashed a grin at them.

"But the mouse, he was feelin' very clever now. 'If you eat me,' he cried, 'the Schnizzlesnoot will get you!'. An' o'course, the snake didn't believe him. 'It's true!' Squeaked the mouse, 'He's black all over with purple eyes, an' blood-red tusks an' a piercin' cry! An' it eats snake soup for lunch!' The snake started to look worried, an' the mouse added. 'An' I'm meetin' it here!' Vega was lost in the story herself, now, focusing on the rhythm of the words. "An' on he went, an' he met a fox. Oh, how the mouse trembled at the sight! But he pulled together all his Cleverness, an' even before the Fox could speak, he said. 'Best run away Mr Fox, I'm meetin' the Schnizzlesnoot here!" an' the Fox looked at him dead funny, but the mouse went on. "He's got spikes on his knees, an' the same on his toes, an' poisonous boogers hangin' out of his nose.' She wrinkled up her own nose at the thought of it.

She was quiet for just a moment. Then, her voice quiet, she continued. "An' the mouse kept on walkin' through the woods, an' then he saw something. Somethin' Very Not Good. It were a creature! A monster! It could not be!!! What was it, he wondered, what was that he could see?" Vega smiled at them, sure that they'd know. "In front of the mouse, the Schnizlesnoot stood. Real as day, an' in this wood! He were taller than tall, with big muscled paws, enormous fingers an' razor sharp claws. It were black all over, with purple eyes, an' blood-red tusks an' a piercin' cry. It had spikes on it's knees! An' the same on it's toes. An'.... there were poisonous boogers hangin' out of it's nose."

As she described the Schnizzlesnoot, Vega did the full emotion of it. "An' the mouse stood an' he looked, an' he were afraid like never before, an' then the Schnizzlesnoot looked at him an' the mouse screamed 'WAAAAAIIIIIIT!'." A pause, for dramatic effect. "An' the Scnizzlesnoot paused an' looked at the mouse an' the mouse spoke. "I know I'm little, an' you think I'd taste good, but everyone's scared of me, here in this wood! If you try to eat me, I swear it's true, you'll find out that I'm scarier than you!" An the Schnizzlesnoot laughed, but looked at him strange, an' the mouse spoke quick, as he tried to arrange. "Come walk with me, Schnizzlesnoot, an' you'll soon see, every creature is afraid of me!" An' so," Vega said. "The Schnizzlesnoot lifted up the mouse. Put him on his shoulder an' they walked through the wood. An' first they saw the Fox. An' the mouse he called an' gave a wave - the Fox saw the mouse, an' he wasn't brave. The Fox ran away, an' hid an' hid. An' from that trial forward, did as the mouse bid. But they kept on walkin' an' they met the snake. The mouse waved an' called him, an' he saw his mistake. He slithered away in fear an' shame, an' that snake never bothered that mouse again." Vega glanced at Arlo and smiled, then at Doran and Sir Chip. "An' finally the pair met the wise old owl, an' the mouse waved to him, an' he made the owl scowl. With a hoot of fear, the owl flew away, an' no one saw him again after that day."

After another pause, timed to just give them a second or two, Vega began the final part of the story. "An' you know, there's a legend in this here wood, an' if you'd humour my ramblin', tell you I should. That if you're lost an' alone, an' you're feelin' afear? If you're small an' you're scared, an' danger is near? " Not that any of them ever would, she was sure. "Then look for the footprints, some big an' some small, an' know that cleverness betters them all. Even if you should think that it's the end. Jus' remember the mouse, an' his Schnizzlesnoot friend."

She took a drink of water, and smiled slightly. "I've been tryin' to think of stories to tell, when the baby comes. Things what tell them that it's alright to be afraid, but it's what you do what matters, not your size." She grinned. "So, how about you, Professor?" She smiled at Doran fondly as she slipped her hand into Arlo's. "What tales have you to tell us?"
word count: 1329
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Vega's skin has a reflective metallic sheen with a red glow. Her eyes still swirl biqaj colours, but one colour is always bright red which glows like fire. She has a bright red glow in her chest, situated directly under the mark of a heart (Daia mark) in the middle of a glowing silver dragon on her chest (Xiur). She's unnaturally warm to the touch
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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

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Vega was with sprout, Kisaik had exclaimed before the storytelling began in earnest, and Arlo couldn't help but grin in response. He'd heard it put several different ways over his lifetime, but this was a first. It appealed, strangely. "You as well, Doran," he added in response to the man's greeting while he'd settled in on his seat, near what would have soon become a steadily burning fire in the pit. "Thank you. And Vega's told me quite a lot about you. But it's good to make your official acquaintance."

"Fiendish," he considered then, once his tale was told and Kisaik piped up. "I've never crossed paths with the skeeterwampulus myself, nor my father Jonas...to hear him tell it. But he swears the story's origins go back to a distance, many times great grandfather who'd seen it himself and put his experience down on paper," Arlo explained with a grin, and then of course the man had passed it down. The age of the story, at least, Arlo could surmise was probably the truth. Jonas wasn't really given to flights of fancy or dreaming up fantastical beasts on his own. He was far too practical a man for that...except for his relatively recent, impulsive trip to Maste's Maze.

Either way, "Certainly not the sort of thing I'd go looking for in a dark wheat field at night. Or a dark alley either. I tried to poke around a little over the arcs," he admitted when Doran wondered, had he ever tried to confirm the existence of skeeterwampulus. "I poured through all kinds of books looking for him. Myths, legends, dangerous beasts and so on." Who knew for sure? Myths and legends sometimes contained kernels of truth, even if those truths had become, at some point, lost in antiquity. "The name is unique enough. I tend to think that if there is any truth in my ancestor's claim, he might have simply called an unfamiliar creature, the first thing that sprung to mind."

"And no, not too soon," he promised, reaching out and squeezing Vega's hand when she asserted that sharing that story with their child could stand to wait a while. "I think Jonas might have shared it as early as he did, as a way to discourage me from slipping from my bed and out the window at night to go exploring in the dark." It hadn't worked, of course. Arlo had been born a traveler, even if he didn't know why back then.

While they'd talked, and as Vega began to share her own story, Arlo split his time between listening, and unloading the domain sack that he'd brought with him. Out came several containers that he'd packed up earlier before he and Vega had gone to sit on the shore, and kept warm all the while by packing orange sand around them. Now, he unwrapped the connected packets of sand and placed the containers near the fire. Good food was always a necessity at gatherings like this, be they small ones or large. Of course, due to Kisaik's presence and likely preferences, there'd been many new challenges to face along the way to preparing an enjoyable meal. Hopefully, he'd done the challenge a service. At any rate, the proximity to Vega's fire would keep the food plenty warm while they all shared their stories.

Of course Vega's story was riddled with what Arlo might have termed ridiculous names, had he not just shared a story of a similarly named creature himself. The important thing though, he thought, grinning while sitting back to fully enjoy the bulk of it, was that she was very much a superb storyteller herself. And a vivid imagination if there ever was one. Of course, he'd already known that to be true. "This is going to be one lucky kid," he said, smiling and squeezing her hand again, once she was done. "And I think he or she will sleep much easier after your tale." Certainly better than having to sleep on his, that was.

"Yes, Doran, I believe you're up," he added while taking three more, taller containers out of his sack, along with four cups, one a little smaller than others. "Warm drink anyone?" he asked. "We've got a mulled wine, hot chocolate with a bit of spice in it, and some spiced tea with cinnamon, cloves and orange." Should anyone wish to indulge, Arlo would pour their preferences, and pass them around, then sit back to listen again.
word count: 777
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Kisaik
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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

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When asked by Doran if he could do the same stretchy move with his arms, Kisaik grinned and nodded. He took the brim of his wizard hat (he was interested in wizardry and all things magical lately) and stretched his arm a few feet forward, doffing his cap for all to see. Those who could recognize another Mortalborn would see him for one then, and then again as he flipped his hat, and placed it back on his head, now a tophat! Another of his abilities he'd discovered, that he could change hats based on whatever thing took his fancy at the moment. Right now, he felt fairly classy and distinguished and wanted to have a hat to match that mood.

But soon enough, it was Vega's turn to tell a tale. About a tiny mouse. Kisaik was immediately enthralled. So few people wished to tell stories and legends of small things, thinking them incapable of anything impressive. But those adventures so close to the ground could be every bit as harrowing and entertaining as anything a tall person went through! Kisaik was sold on the idea of the very clever mouse, already by its title.

Kisaik listened as the mouse set up his ploy, one by one evading the belly of his natural predators by threatening them with an unheard-of monster, the schnizlesnoot. That the mouse was friends with it, and that it would come to thump them if they tried to eat the mouse.

Kisaik giggled as the creatures one by one fell for the ploy, letting caution overrule their hunger at least for a moment. But then, the story took a most unexpected turn. The Schnizlesnoot was real! And the mouse was terrified that it would eat him.

But the mouse's mind was sharp and clever, and he was able to keep his composure, therefore. Kisaik was delighted as the mouse rode on the Schnizlesnoot's shoulder, scaring the rest of the woodland creatures. Thereby fooling them by proving he was friends with the Schnizlesnoot, and also proving to the Schnizlesnoot that all the creatures were afraid of the mouse when it was the monster they ran from. It was quite a well-constructed tale and one that Kisaik hadn't heard before. He would have to file it away for his own sprouts if he ever had any.

"That's a great story! I want to find the Schnizlesnoot!" Kisaik chimed, as he leaped down from Doran's shoulder, and blinked onto a nearby log. He wanted to give the other man room to tell his story, and not feel as if he had to crane his neck to make eye contact with Kisaik when he did.

So as Arlo explained where he'd found his stories, Kisaik listened carefully. Personal experience was surely a great teacher of tales, surely, but also so was tradition. And he and his kin had many stories to share it seemed. The Skeeter monster seemed to be real though, even if it may have only existed in Arlo's grandpa's grandpa's time. Kisaik still shuddered to think of the images that Arlo's tale had evoked.

So, as the group settled down once again, it appeared it was Professor Doran's turn to tell a story! Kisaik was incredibly curious at this point, and wanted to see what kind of story Doran would relate!

Yet when Arlo began offering sweet treats, Kisaik was among the first to take him up on it, and snapped his fingers, creating a small portal. WIth the portal, he Pulled the profered hot chocolate out of the air, and carefully wrapped his hands around it. Then, he set it down by his feet, where he sank them in and started soaking them up. The chocolate would go straight into his sap for consumption. He sighed in pleasure as the warmth of the brew rushed through his little body.




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Re: Tall Tales, Short Stories, and Fables of All Sizes!

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When Arlo told him that he had poured through all kinds of books looking for the Skeeterwampulus, Doran furrowed his brow thoughtfully for a moment, before he remarked, “Myths and legends such as this one often contain a kernel of truth. If you would like me to, I could investigate the story of the Skeeterwampulus when I return to Viden and let you know the results. The creature may very well have existed in some form, even if the name may have changed over the course of the centuries”, he added before he fell silent once more in order to listen to Vega’s story.

When she revealed that her story would be about a mouse, he leaned back slightly and looked at her in anticipation, eventually coming to the decision that she shared her husband’s gift. The way that she changed her voice almost made the character’s come to life. For a while, he was convinced that it would be a story about a clever mouse that outsmarted various predators – which was something that he liked; strength and size were not everything. For that reason, he raised an eyebrow slightly when Vega reached the point in the story where the mouse suddenly saw the Schnizlesnoot. When the mouse warned the monster, the Mortalborn who was very a proper and composed man most of the time, laughed, a deep and amused laughter before he continued to listen.

“That was an interesting story”, he finally remarked, applauding, before he asked in a tone of voice that was tinged with curiosity, “What happened to the mouse and his Schnizlesnoot friend after that though, if you don’t mind me asking? Did they stay friends and continue to have adventures together?” he added. That was something that he always wondered about. What kind of lives did the characters lead when the story was over, and why did storytellers decide to end their stories when they did?

When Kisaik who had obviously approved of Vega’s story as well exclaimed that he wanted to find the Schnizlesnoot, the corners of Doran’s mouth twitched for a moment before he raised an eyebrow fractionally as the Tunawa leapt from his shoulder and more or less teleported onto a nearby rock. He did not ask him how he was able to do that though; he knew that he was dealing with a Rupturer. His late apprentice Sintih had been one as well.

There was another thing that was unusual about Kisaik as well though; before, when he had touched his hat, and he had observed him, he had seen something in him. There had been a feeling of familiarity and kinship that reminded him of the blacksmith Elm in Rharne, or of Oberan, the strange man that he had met in Etzos. Kisaik was apparently a Mortalborn as well which raised a couple of questions, besides the obvious one: How exactly had a Tunawa Mortalborn come to be?

He thought about it for a while, but he decided not to ask Kisaik about it, realizing that he might not want everybody to know what he really was. Instead, he turned to Arlo, smiling lightly as he offered them drinks. “A cup of hot chocolate, please”, he replied and inclined his head in a gesture of gratitude before he took a sip and considered Vega’s question.

Doran loved stories, myths and legends, and tales of ancient beings, but he had never told a lot of stories himself. It had never occurred to him to do so. The idea of sharing what he had learned over the course of his exceptionally long life, not only with a scientific audience, in a purely academic context, but at a campfire, to entertain, appealed to him now though.

He knew few stories like Vega’s or Arlo’s, and he doubted that he would be able to come up with an entirely new story on the fly. There was something that they might find interesting though. The things that he had learned during his research were stories as well, as he had already more or less concluded before, stories that had really happened.

In the beginning, he had considered telling them the story of Enri Von Smooglenuff’s son Xad as there was something slightly humorous about it, but why not tell the story of his father instead? Enri’s book was one of the reasons why he was here, on Faldrass now.

Enri was one of the reasons, perhaps one of the main reasons, why they might be able to save Scalvoris, after all.

He let his gaze drift across his three companions for a moment before he began to speak, in a calm and firm tone of voice, “My story is a story that really happened, approximately three centuries ago, a story that affects Scalvoris to this trial. It is a story about a great storyteller that saved Faldrass with his gift when the island and its people were in grave danger.”

Having said that, he paused for a moment, furrowing his brow slightly before he continued, having come to the decision that providing his audience with a bit of background information might help them understand the significance of what Enri Von Smooglenuff had done better.

“My story takes place in 416, during the season of Vhalar, to be exact. Vhalar often seems to play a part in Scalvoris where unusual events or tragedies are concerned. The Pirate Lords arrived in 616, in Vhalar for example, and they disappeared again in 716, in Vhalar, while the shadow beasts troubled Idalos. That particular Vhalar, the stories say, the sea boiled for one hundred trials, and no ships could get out. Terror was everywhere. Written accounts of the time speak of a dense fog hanging over the waters, tinged a dark blue”, he revealed, momentarily wondering, but not worrying, if he had gone into too much detail before he continued.

“Faldrass was cut off, and its inhabitants were unable to leave the island. One man, Enri, came forward though. Some say that he was Cassion’s son, but that is not the case. His father was a different Immortal – or is, for Enri might still be alive to-trial. Mortalborn can live for centuries. They do not age the way that mortals do”, he explained. “The Immortal of Stories granted Enri his blessing though, because he told the children of that village on Faldrass a story”, he spoke. He did not change his tone of voice to suit certain parts of the story, or certain characters, and he didn’t speak in rhymes either – he did not know how – but made use of the same firm and calm tone of voice as before instead, in order to hopefully convey what kind of impact Enri Von Smooglenuff’s actions had had.

They affected Scalvoris to this trial, as he had said before.

“A monster was attacking Scalvoris, but it was held back by another. Enri named the monster the Smooglenuff in order to make the children smile. Every trial, a hundred times, he told them that they ought to be brave, because the Smooglenuff would only be able to fight the monster if it had bravery poured into it.”

“When the mist cleared, and the water finally stopped boiling, Enri was made a Baron. Smooglenuff Manor, the manor that was destroyed during the volcanic eruption last arc, was built, and Enri was named after the hero of the story that he had told. He lived there, on Faldrass with his son Xad who changed his name later on because the name Smooglenuff reminded him of an exotic pillow”,
he said, the corners of his mouth momentarily twitching a little because that still amused him after all the time.

“From what I know, Enri’s successors lived on Faldrass until last arc, when the last Baron, Rodrigues, died during the eruption, although it is entirely possible that some of his family still exist somewhere – and that Enri himself still walks this world, as I said”, he finished and finally fell silent, waiting to tell him what they thought of his story and if they had any questions, taking one last sip from his hot chocolate as he did so.
word count: 1379

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