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About Varied / Hobbyist Member Moriah Kristine23/Female/United States Recent Activity
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MoriahKristine
Moriah Kristine
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
My name is Moriah Kristine Farnsworth
(Yes, like from Futurama. And YES...we're related. Truth)
Born in Las Vegas, NV 1991
Currently live in the state of Washington

Zero. I'm an INTP.
One. I’m an introvert.
Two. I love books.
Three. I love the rain.
Four. I’m an “old soul”
Five. I’m dark/gothic.
Six. I’m evil. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Seven. I’m masochistic.
Eight. I'm bisexual.
Nine. I'm artistic and love having projects but tend to get in over my head.
Ten. I love green tea with lemon.
Eleven. I have a dark sense of humor and very harsh and dry sarcasm most don’t understand.
Twelve. I collect glass bottles and jars.
Thirteen. I have a dark past.
Fourteen. I love cats.
Fifteen. I <3 to dance and music.
Sixteen I hate small dogs, the color pink and Twilight.
Seventeen. I love fantasy.
Eighteen. I'm a heartbreaker.
Nineteen I like horror, Halloween, bats, black, and dark, gory things.
Twenty. I "fangirl" over many things, including Harry Potter, American Horror Story, My Little Pony, and various other things.

Activity


Chapter 2
Water and Gold
   

   Ash awoke with a pounding in his head and something wet on his backside.  He slowly opened his eyes to see only blackness around him.  The smell of dirt and decaying leaves surrounded him.  He sat up and felt hard, damp earth beneath him.  He rubbed the back of his head to check for injuries, luckily, he seemed to be alright.  His eyes slowly adjusted to the dark and he couldn’t see much around him no matter how hard he stared into the dark.  From the echoing of some water dripping, the hole sounded much larger than it appeared to be.  Ash knelt down and dug into his hunting pack that he thankfully managed to not lose.  Inside he pulled out his flint and steel set and gathered some dried leaves and twigs from around his feet and fastened himself a small torch.  After some time, light was flooding the inside of a cave, dancing delicately across the walls.  As Ash walked around, the pads on his paws made a light pat with each step he took.  Along the cave walls were strange red markings Ash didn’t recognize.  They looked like they had been painted on year ago.  There were some old broken pots, play things, and other oddities Ash had never seen before.  He wondered who would have lived down here, and why.  He went back to the markings on the wall and tried to decipher them, but it was in a language completely unknown to him, he had never seen anything like it.  But there was no time to figure this out now, he had to try to rescue Tala, if it wasn’t already too late.  He headed for the opening in the ground above him from where he fell in, but before he started to climb, some more markings on the wall caught his eye.  He recognized some of them; he could read some of these words.  He wasn’t exactly sure, but his best guess was something he must have learned as a child, maybe when he was still in school, when he was Tala’s age.  He leaned in closer and lifted the torch to the wall.  Light bounced across the wall and its markings

“…A burning era will begin and…thriving will die by the hand...” Ash whispered quietly to himself.  He couldn’t make out anything else, and after this bit, giving him the chills, he wasn’t sure he wanted to read the rest.  He turned away and put the torch in his teeth and climbed up the stone wall, leaving the forgotten cave behind.

   Outside in the cool night air, everything was still and quiet.  All the animals were asleep and even the wind seemed to be sleeping because all around him was silence.  Ash started backtracking towards his village and when he got there, the fears all boiled up in him again and anxiety rushed through him.  Suddenly, he was alert and tense.  The tall fence that surrounded his village, to keep the people in served no purpose anymore, there was no one left.  He needed to find Tala, he needed to rescue her and he would die trying if he must.  Ash stopped by his old home to prepare a better pack for a long journey; Sunrise was days away and he wanted to be more equipped.  When he was set to go, he took one last look around at Tala’s play things and tears were fighting again in his eyes.  He looked over to a ring of flowers and grass that made a crown and he remembered how in the spring Tala made one for him and how he refused to wear it, now he’d give anything for her to make him a crown of flowers, and oh, how he would walk around so proud with it upon his head.  On the floor lay a small blue ribbon, one Tala often wore in her hair or around her wrist.  She called it her Wish Ribbon and she had told Ash that someday, she would tie it onto the Wish Tree so that all her deepest wishes would come true.  Ash picked up the delicate ribbon and held it close to his heart and he could hear her voice clear in his mind as if it were just earlier this morning they were sitting out in the grassy hill just on the outskirts of their village.

   Ash sat with his back against the fence, watching his little sister play in the field of white and yellow flowers.  She gathered them up and made a bouquet.  She brought them to Ash who smiled at his sister,

   “They’re beautiful.” He said and she smiled, pleased that her brother was approving.  She pulled out a small blue ribbon she had in her pocket and wrapped it around the stems of the flowers, but it kept falling because she didn’t know how to make a bow yet.

   “Ash, it won’t stay.” She said, confused at her error.  Ash lead up and reached his hand out,

   “Here, let me show you.” He said and she handed him the ribbon.  She watched him tie it around the stems,

   “The rabbit goes over then under and around and through.” Ash said slowly as he showed Tala how to tie.  When he completely the bow Tala got excited,

   “Let me try!” she said and Ash undid the bow.  She brought the ribbon around and around the stem and crossed the two ends but it fell and Tala was sad,

   “What is it little wolf?” he asked,

   “I’ll never be able to do it like you. I’m no good.” She said and tears formed in the corner of her eyes.  Ash set the ribbon and flowers down and placed his hand gently under her chin to get her to look him in the eye.

   “Never say you’re never any good.  You are Tala, my little wolf and the most beautiful and smart and fun of all the little wolves in the world! There is no one like you.  You are special and wonderful, some things just take practice and eventually you’ll get it.” He said and Tala gave a small smile.

   “Now, want to try again?” he asked and she nodded.  Ash had brought Tala to sit in front of him and he reached his arms around her to tie the bow around her flowers.  After he had shown her a second time, she was ready to try again.  This time he guided her with the rhyme and she completely the bow.

   “I did it! Look Ash! I made a bow like you!” she squealed with accomplishment.

   “Good job, little wolf!” He said proudly and she hugged him,

   “You know what?” She said when she pulled away from him and admired her bow around her flowers,

   “What?” Ash asked, leaning back on the fence.

   “I think that this is a perfect ribbon for my wish ribbon.” She said with a smile,

   “What is a wish ribbon?” Ash asked,

   “Emilie from school told me about them.  It’s a special ribbon that you make a wish on and then you tie it to a wishing tree so your wish will come true.”

   “What’s a wishing tree?” Ash asked, genuinely curious.

   “It’s a tree that’s covered in all sorts of different colored ribbons that other people put there for their wises.”

   “Where can you find one of these trees?”

   “I don’t know, but maybe when I’m older, I’ll learn about it in school, or a traveler will come and tell us about one.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Ash? A tree that can grant your wish?” there was so much enthusiasm and excitement in her voice.

   “That would be really wonderful, little wolf.  I tell you what, if I ever find a wishing tree, I will take you there so you can tie the ribbon onto the tree.”

   “Really?” Tala jumped and looked at him and Ash nodded.

   “You’re the best!” She jumped into a hug and wrapped her arms tight around his neck and he hugged her back.

   

    “I will save you, Little Wolf.” He whispered into the cold empty room and then he turned away from his home and left it too behind him.

   Out on the road it was quiet and dark, Ash’s torch was long gone at this point, if the Guard came this way, they would capture him or worse, kill him.  He was better left in the dark, shadowing himself in the night.  It felt like he had walked a long time and he was starting to worry that maybe he had taken the wrong road, but then he saw a sign at a fork and ran up to read,

   “Land Nation” with an arrow pointing north and “Sunrise City” with an arrow pointing west and he knew he was on the right track.  It had been a long time since he had traveled to Sunrise.  As he walked he remembered when he was just a pup and he was traveling with his father to Sunrise for a business trip.  Ash’s mother was left at home because she was with child and unable to make the long trip, so while Ash’s aunt was taking care of his mother, he went with his father to learn their trade.  He learned how to farm the land already, and now he was learning how to sell their crops to Sunrise City traders for other things they needed back at home.  Ash’s father explained to him,

   “You see, son.  We grow the ground foods, like corn and pumpkins and carrots, but the people in Sunrise don’t have the room or the land to go these things, so we trade our ground foods for something that we don’t have in our village, like meat and fabric and materials for clothing.

   “Why don’t we just make our own meat and fabric at home?” the young Ash wondered.  He didn’t understand why someone should have to travel so far just for meat.

   “Because that’s how the trade works.  We don’t have the license to keep our own meat or make our own fabric.” His dad explained.  Ash was still confused,

   “What is a lie-sense” Ash asked,

   “A license is a special paper that lets you do something.  Like our village has the license for growing the ground foods as long as we sell them to Sunrise City.”

   “Do all villages have a lie-sense?” Ash was amazed at how complicated the outside world was.  He would have never guessed that there were so many rules and things to remember outside of his village.

   “Yes, they do, and they’re all different.  Like the villages in the south have licenses for fishing and selling their catch.”

   “What is a fishing?” Ash’s questions just kept coming and he felt like there could never be enough answers in the world for all the questions he had.  Ash’s father laughed lightheartedly,

   “You’ll learn all of this and more, my son, in time.”

   Ash was pulled back into reality when he walked by what looked like what was left of a camp from the previous night.  It had to have been the Guards from his village.  Finally, the sun began to dawn and it almost seemed as if all of the plants around him woke up with it.  The tree limbs seemed to shift and all the leaves swayed and fluttered as if searching for the sun for another day of promised life.  What felt like a lifetime later, Ash could see the trees breaking up and becoming more separated in the distance.  When he reached the opening, he stood at the beginning of a large clearing of hills and grasslands that stretched for miles and miles.  After walking down the small dirt road through the tall grass and over the hills, Ash reached the top of a hill and overlooked the gates of Sunrise City.  The Guard was nowhere to be seen, which meant they must have made it back to the city already.  There was no chance of him being able to just knock on the door and ask for his sister back.  Surely they would capture him as well, if they even let him live.  He was helpless on his own, he needed help.  Ash sat atop the grassy hill next to a log and thought about where he could get help, and the only place he could think of to ask was the Land nations’ Elder, in Thorn Burrow.  Unfortunately, Thorn Burrow was at least eight days away, if not nine; Tala might not even be alive by then.  But it was all Ash could think of, and he had to try.  While he sat and rested, he ate a quick lunch of something he packed, some berries and nuts he gathered from past the limits.   After he finished, he stood up and went about his journey.  He backtracked to the fork in the road and this time took the path to the north and it occurred to him that he had never been this way before.  He had traveled to Sunrise City only a handful of times throughout his life, but they were never allowed anywhere else, never anywhere off of their trade route, so Ash never even considered taking this path until today.  He wasn’t sure what he was expecting, it to be lined with the Guard or men patrolling the pathway to keep him from his destination, to tell him that he was out of his territory and to either kill him or arrest him, but none of this happened.  The walk was quiet and peaceful, nothing of interest happened and Ash grew restless.  By the first days end, he was hungry again, and was out of berries and nuts.  He needed real food.  He needed meat.  He only had a single arrow left and was saving it in case he needed to defend himself.  He could make a trap, but that seemed to take too long, he was so hungry now, so his hunger got the best of him and he decided it was worth the potential loss of his arrow.  He found himself a rabbit and his arrow survived the kill, it was just a little bloody.  Ash made camp far from the trail and made a small fire to cook his catch.  After he ate he put out the fire, from fear someone might see the light or smell the smoke and sought him out.  He still wasn’t tired and decided it might be wise to make some more arrows with his time.  By morning, he had a whole quiver full of arrows and felt much more at ease knowing he could protect himself much better than before.  He set off again and so his journey continued.

   Days later, Ash came to another fork in the road, one arrow pointing north that read, “Hazelden” and another arrow pointing east that read, “Thorn Burrow”.  Ash had never heard of Stone Hills before, and he wondered what they might be like.  He continued on the path for Thorn Burrow.  Ash’s supply of water was getting very low despite him trying to make it last.  He wondered if he could make the rest of the trip with the little he had.  Food was easy to find, but water was a completely different matter.  He thought there would have been more streams along this path, but so far, he had no such luck finding anything.  The next day he had crouched into the bushes and trees off of the pathway.  A carriage had broken down on its way to Sunrise City and two men from the Guard were fixing the wheel.  The carriage seemed to shine with pure gold and gems, Ash wrinkled his nose at the sight of it.  It was more looks than function, which was real necessary for a carriage that was to take you traveling places.  Ash waited and overheard one of the guardsmen say that they would need a log to hold up the carriage as they fixed the wheel.

   “Then go find one.” The other spat.

   “I’m not going out there alone.” Said the other, obviously too afraid to go into the wilderness alone.

   “Don’t be such a baby, just go get the thing so we can be on our way.”  The argued for a moment longer and finally the one gave in and went with the other to find a proper log.  Ash thought now was his chance to slip by.  As he slowly and quietly made his way closer to the carriage, he saw a large water pouch hanging from one of the horses pulling the carriage.  He eyed it and thought he could take it and no one would ever know.  It’s not like the Guard really needed it, they had horses and probably a whole bunch of extra supplies in the carriage itself.  He darted around to the horse and it gave a soft whine,

   “Shh, it’s okay there buddy.” Ash said soothingly and pet the horse who had calmed down almost immediately.  Ash unhooked the water pouch from the leather strap that tied it and before he could make off with it, a voice came from behind him.

   “What do you think you are doing?” he turned around to see a girl about his age dressed in a long flowing white dress and a pastel blue cloak with gold trimming at the end.  She stood in front of him, her long gazelle antlers stretched to the sky and crossed her arms.  Ash was stunned, why didn’t he think someone would be in the carriage? He could run, he should run, but then it was too late.  This girl was calling for her guards to come to her and in an instant, they were there.  Ash couldn’t outrun them; he was already so tired from the traveling over the last couple days so he did the only thing he could think of.  He drew his bow and pulled an arrow from the quiver, and within the span of a few seconds, he had lodged a single arrow in one of the guards and two in the other and both fell to the ground, dead.  The gazelle girl stood there staring at Ash in complete horror, shock and fear was overtaking her.  Ash knew because not only could he see it, he could smell it.

   “I’m not going to hurt you.” He said and returned his bow to his back.  Ash stepped closer to her and the girl took a big step back,

   “Stay away from me!” she shrieked.  Ash leaned down and picked up the water pouch and stood upright again, never taking his eye off of her.

   “This is all I wanted.  I never wanted to kill anyone.” Ash said and he looked at the two dead bodies on the ground and he felt as though he should feel bad, but he didn’t.  When he saw them laying there, he only felt proud.  Now there were two less Guards in the world and two less to destroy homes and families; the world was better off.  Ash had never thought someone could ever make him so angry and vengeful, but after they took Tala, that changed everything he thought he knew.  Ash took another look at the girl who still stood like stone in fear, staring at him with wide golden eyes.  He tucked the water pouch into his pack and turned to leave her.

   “You’re not going to kill me?” She asked, fear still in her voice.

   “No, like I said, I never wanted to kill anyone.” Ash replied without turning to face her or stopping his pace of walking.  There was a pause and then he heard the girl cry,

   “You can’t just leave me here!” Ash ignored her.

   “Please, at least take me with you!” she begged and he could hear her footsteps behind him and Ash kept walking.

   “If you leave me here alone I will die.  And that’s just the same as you putting an arrow in my heart.” This made Ash stop but he still didn’t turn and face her, her footsteps stopped as well.

   “Look, take me back home to Sunrise and I promise you all the food and water you wish for.” She said and Ash thought of this, though food and water would hardly be worth it, maybe something else would,

   “Take you back?” he said slowly still without turning,

   “Yes, take me back and you will be rewarded.” She said so certainly.

   “How do you know this?” Ash could only think of how he would be arrested or killed for entering Sunrise, how could she possibly grant him freedom from either of those fates?

   “Because I am Gazania, princess of Sunrise.” She said in a sort of way as though she practiced saying it over and over again, it felt dry and bland, but if it was true, if she truly was the princess of Sunrise, she could promise him freedom, and probably more.  Ash turned to look at her,

   “How do I know you’re not lying?” he asked, starting to circle her.

   “My tiara is in the carriage, I can show you—“ she began but Ash cut her off,

   “I think I need more proof than just some silly crown.” Even though Ash knew there probably wasn’t any real proof she could present him with that would make him believe her completely.

   “What were you doing in Thorn Burrow?” Ash asked, now curious about what business a princess had with a small element village.

   “That is none of your concern.” She said firmly.

   “Oh no?” he said, looking at her and raising an eyebrow.

   “Isn’t it though? The way I see it, you’re life is in my hands, and though I never wanted to kill anyone, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash to do it again if I sense that you may betray me. So, princess,” he said incredulously.

   “Start proving to me who you say you are as if your life depends on it…Because it does very much.”   She stared at him at first what looked like a glare, but quickly turned into fear again.  She knew she had no other choice.

   “I wasn’t in Thorn Burrow, I was coming back home from Brezland” Ash had never heard of that place,

   “And what were you doing there?” Ash asked,

   “Training.” Gazania said flatly.

   “Training? For what?”

   “Royalty training.” She sighed

   “Why couldn’t you just do that in Sunrise?” Ash asked, more confused and he could see Gazania was losing her patience with these questions.

   “Never mind, so how can you prove to me that you really are the princess?” he asked and for a moment she didn’t reply.

   “I have nothing.  I have my tiara and gold in my carriage, but that is all I have to show you. I really am the princess though, and if you just take me home, you will be the guest of honor at a glorious feast.”  Ash couldn’t tell if she was trying to bribe him, or if this was simply the only tactic she knew.  He looked into her eyes and they seemed sincere, and he sighed.  If he took her back, he wouldn’t need to go to Thorn Burrow at all; instead he could go to Sunrise and trade the princess for his sister and their freedom.

   “What about the guards?” he said, eyeing the two dead men on the ground.

   “I won’t tell, just promise to take me back and I give you my oath.” She said with desperation in her voice.  He still wasn’t sure if he could completely trust her, but if Tala was really in trouble, and if she was still alive, this might be his best and quickest bet.  There still was no guarantee that the Land Elder would agree to help him.  He thought over it all once again in silence and finally made up his mind.  Yes, trading the princess for his sister was the best and quickest option.

   “Alright.” He said slowly.

   “Alright?” Gazania repeated,

   “I will take you back if you swear to me I will be allowed my freedom.”

   “Done.” She said without hesitation.

   “And,” he started,

   “And?” she asked, looking at him through slit eyes,

   “I need you to swear on your life, that I can have my sister back from the Guard.” Ash closed his eyes and thought of where Tala might be and he put his hand in his pocket and felt the soft ribbon in his fingers.

   “The Guard took your sister?” Gazania asked, honestly sounding concerned.  Ash opened his eyes again and looked at her,

“Yes.  Promise me that her and I will be granted freedom and I will take you home.” He said sternly, staring at her and his eyes not leaving hers as she stood up straight and agreed.
Elements Chapter 2
I'm making a map for the world and I'm thinking I'm gunna TRY and post it SOON-ish...maybe before I leave for Vegas?? Lets hope [xD]

Chapter 1: moriahkristine.deviantart.com/…
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Chapter 2
Water and Gold

     

    Ash awoke with a pounding in his head and something wet on his backside.  He slowly opened his eyes to see only blackness around him.  The smell of dirt and decaying leaves surrounded him.  He sat up and felt hard, damp earth beneath him.  He rubbed the back of his head to check for injuries, luckily, he seemed to be alright.  His eyes slowly adjusted to the dark and he couldn’t see much around him no matter how hard he stared into the dark.  From the echoing of some water dripping, the hole sounded much larger than it appeared to be.  Ash knelt down and dug into his hunting pack that he thankfully managed to not lose.  Inside he pulled out his flint and steel set and gathered some dried leaves and twigs from around his feet and fastened himself a small torch.  After some time, light was flooding the inside of a cave, dancing delicately across the walls.  As Ash walked around, the pads on his paws made a light pat with each step he took.  Along the cave walls were strange red markings Ash didn’t recognize.  They looked like they had been painted on year ago.  There were some old broken pots, play things, and other oddities Ash had never seen before.  He wondered who would have lived down here, and why.  He went back to the markings on the wall and tried to decipher them, but it was in a language completely unknown to him, he had never seen anything like it.  But there was no time to figure this out now, he had to try to rescue Tala, if it wasn’t already too late.  He headed for the opening in the ground above him from where he fell in, but before he started to climb, some more markings on the wall caught his eye.  He recognized some of them; he could read some of these words.  He wasn’t exactly sure, but his best guess was something he must have learned as a child, maybe when he was still in school, when he was Tala’s age.  He leaned in closer and lifted the torch to the wall.  Light bounced across the wall and its markings

“…A burning era will begin and…thriving will die by the hand...” Ash whispered quietly to himself.  He couldn’t make out anything else, and after this bit, giving him the chills, he wasn’t sure he wanted to read the rest.  He turned away and put the torch in his teeth and climbed up the stone wall, leaving the forgotten cave behind. 

    Outside in the cool night air, everything was still and quiet.  All the animals were asleep and even the wind seemed to be sleeping because all around him was silence.  Ash started backtracking towards his village and when he got there, the fears all boiled up in him again and anxiety rushed through him.  Suddenly, he was alert and tense.  The tall fence that surrounded his village, to keep the people in served no purpose anymore, there was no one left.  He needed to find Tala, he needed to rescue her and he would die trying if he must.  Ash stopped by his old home to prepare a better pack for a long journey; Sunrise was days away and he wanted to be more equipped.  When he was set to go, he took one last look around at Tala’s play things and tears were fighting again in his eyes.  He looked over to a ring of flowers and grass that made a crown and he remembered how in the spring Tala made one for him and how he refused to wear it, now he’d give anything for her to make him a crown of flowers, and oh, how he would walk around so proud with it upon his head.  On the floor lay a small blue ribbon, one Tala often wore in her hair or around her wrist.  She called it her Wish Ribbon and she had told Ash that someday, she would tie it onto the Wish Tree so that all her deepest wishes would come true.  Ash picked up the delicate ribbon and held it close to his heart and he could hear her voice clear in his mind as if it were just earlier this morning they were sitting out in the grassy hill just on the outskirts of their village.

    Ash sat with his back against the fence, watching his little sister play in the field of white and yellow flowers.  She gathered them up and made a bouquet.  She brought them to Ash who smiled at his sister,

    “They’re beautiful.” He said and she smiled, pleased that her brother was approving.  She pulled out a small blue ribbon she had in her pocket and wrapped it around the stems of the flowers, but it kept falling because she didn’t know how to make a bow yet.

    “Ash, it won’t stay.” She said, confused at her error.  Ash lead up and reached his hand out,

    “Here, let me show you.” He said and she handed him the ribbon.  She watched him tie it around the stems,

    “The rabbit goes over then under and around and through.” Ash said slowly as he showed Tala how to tie.  When he completely the bow Tala got excited,

    “Let me try!” she said and Ash undid the bow.  She brought the ribbon around and around the stem and crossed the two ends but it fell and Tala was sad,

    “What is it little wolf?” he asked,

    “I’ll never be able to do it like you. I’m no good.” She said and tears formed in the corner of her eyes.  Ash set the ribbon and flowers down and placed his hand gently under her chin to get her to look him in the eye.

    “Never say you’re never any good.  You are Tala, my little wolf and the most beautiful and smart and fun of all the little wolves in the world! There is no one like you.  You are special and wonderful, some things just take practice and eventually you’ll get it.” He said and Tala gave a small smile.

    “Now, want to try again?” he asked and she nodded.  Ash had brought Tala to sit in front of him and he reached his arms around her to tie the bow around her flowers.  After he had shown her a second time, she was ready to try again.  This time he guided her with the rhyme and she completely the bow.

    “I did it! Look Ash! I made a bow like you!” she squealed with accomplishment.

    “Good job, little wolf!” He said proudly and she hugged him,

    “You know what?” She said when she pulled away from him and admired her bow around her flowers,

    “What?” Ash asked, leaning back on the fence.

    “I think that this is a perfect ribbon for my wish ribbon.” She said with a smile,

    “What is a wish ribbon?” Ash asked,

    “Emilie from school told me about them.  It’s a special ribbon that you make a wish on and then you tie it to a wishing tree so your wish will come true.”

    “What’s a wishing tree?” Ash asked, genuinely curious.

    “It’s a tree that’s covered in all sorts of different colored ribbons that other people put there for their wises.”

    “Where can you find one of these trees?”

    “I don’t know, but maybe when I’m older, I’ll learn about it in school, or a traveler will come and tell us about one.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Ash? A tree that can grant your wish?” there was so much enthusiasm and excitement in her voice.

    “That would be really wonderful, little wolf.  I tell you what, if I ever find a wishing tree, I will take you there so you can tie the ribbon onto the tree.”

    “Really?” Tala jumped and looked at him and Ash nodded.

    “You’re the best!” She jumped into a hug and wrapped her arms tight around his neck and he hugged her back.

     

     “I will save you, Little Wolf.” He whispered into the cold empty room and then he turned away from his home and left it too behind him. 

    Out on the road it was quiet and dark, Ash’s torch was long gone at this point, if the Guard came this way, they would capture him or worse, kill him.  He was better left in the dark, shadowing himself in the night.  It felt like he had walked a long time and he was starting to worry that maybe he had taken the wrong road, but then he saw a sign at a fork and ran up to read,

    “Land Nation” with an arrow pointing north and “Sunrise City” with an arrow pointing west and he knew he was on the right track.  It had been a long time since he had traveled to Sunrise.  As he walked he remembered when he was just a pup and he was traveling with his father to Sunrise for a business trip.  Ash’s mother was left at home because she was with child and unable to make the long trip, so while Ash’s aunt was taking care of his mother, he went with his father to learn their trade.  He learned how to farm the land already, and now he was learning how to sell their crops to Sunrise City traders for other things they needed back at home.  Ash’s father explained to him,

    “You see, son.  We grow the ground foods, like corn and pumpkins and carrots, but the people in Sunrise don’t have the room or the land to go these things, so we trade our ground foods for something that we don’t have in our village, like meat and fabric and materials for clothing. 

    “Why don’t we just make our own meat and fabric at home?” the young Ash wondered.  He didn’t understand why someone should have to travel so far just for meat.

    “Because that’s how the trade works.  We don’t have the license to keep our own meat or make our own fabric.” His dad explained.  Ash was still confused,

    “What is a lie-sense” Ash asked,

    “A license is a special paper that lets you do something.  Like our village has the license for growing the ground foods as long as we sell them to Sunrise City.”

    “Do all villages have a lie-sense?” Ash was amazed at how complicated the outside world was.  He would have never guessed that there were so many rules and things to remember outside of his village.

    “Yes, they do, and they’re all different.  Like the villages in the south have licenses for fishing and selling their catch.”

    “What is a fishing?” Ash’s questions just kept coming and he felt like there could never be enough answers in the world for all the questions he had.  Ash’s father laughed lightheartedly,

    “You’ll learn all of this and more, my son, in time.”

    Ash was pulled back into reality when he walked by what looked like what was left of a camp from the previous night.  It had to have been the Guards from his village.  Finally, the sun began to dawn and it almost seemed as if all of the plants around him woke up with it.  The tree limbs seemed to shift and all the leaves swayed and fluttered as if searching for the sun for another day of promised life.  What felt like a lifetime later, Ash could see the trees breaking up and becoming more separated in the distance.  When he reached the opening, he stood at the beginning of a large clearing of hills and grasslands that stretched for miles and miles.  After walking down the small dirt road through the tall grass and over the hills, Ash reached the top of a hill and overlooked the gates of Sunrise City.  The Guard was nowhere to be seen, which meant they must have made it back to the city already.  There was no chance of him being able to just knock on the door and ask for his sister back.  Surely they would capture him as well, if they even let him live.  He was helpless on his own, he needed help.  Ash sat atop the grassy hill next to a log and thought about where he could get help, and the only place he could think of to ask was the Land nations’ Elder, in Thorn Burrow.  Unfortunately, Thorn Burrow was at least eight days away, if not nine; Tala might not even be alive by then.  But it was all Ash could think of, and he had to try.  While he sat and rested, he ate a quick lunch of something he packed, some berries and nuts he gathered from past the limits.   After he finished, he stood up and went about his journey.  He backtracked to the fork in the road and this time took the path to the north and it occurred to him that he had never been this way before.  He had traveled to Sunrise City only a handful of times throughout his life, but they were never allowed anywhere else, never anywhere off of their trade route, so Ash never even considered taking this path until today.  He wasn’t sure what he was expecting, it to be lined with the Guard or men patrolling the pathway to keep him from his destination, to tell him that he was out of his territory and to either kill him or arrest him, but none of this happened.  The walk was quiet and peaceful, nothing of interest happened and Ash grew restless.  By the first days end, he was hungry again, and was out of berries and nuts.  He needed real food.  He needed meat.  He only had a single arrow left and was saving it in case he needed to defend himself.  He could make a trap, but that seemed to take too long, he was so hungry now, so his hunger got the best of him and he decided it was worth the potential loss of his arrow.  He found himself a rabbit and his arrow survived the kill, it was just a little bloody.  Ash made camp far from the trail and made a small fire to cook his catch.  After he ate he put out the fire, from fear someone might see the light or smell the smoke and sought him out.  He still wasn’t tired and decided it might be wise to make some more arrows with his time.  By morning, he had a whole quiver full of arrows and felt much more at ease knowing he could protect himself much better than before.  He set off again and so his journey continued. 

    Days later, Ash came to another fork in the road, one arrow pointing north that read, “Hazelden” and another arrow pointing east that read, “Thorn Burrow”.  Ash had never heard of Stone Hills before, and he wondered what they might be like.  He continued on the path for Thorn Burrow.  Ash’s supply of water was getting very low despite him trying to make it last.  He wondered if he could make the rest of the trip with the little he had.  Food was easy to find, but water was a completely different matter.  He thought there would have been more streams along this path, but so far, he had no such luck finding anything.  The next day he had crouched into the bushes and trees off of the pathway.  A carriage had broken down on its way to Sunrise City and two men from the Guard were fixing the wheel.  The carriage seemed to shine with pure gold and gems, Ash wrinkled his nose at the sight of it.  It was more looks than function, which was real necessary for a carriage that was to take you traveling places.  Ash waited and overheard one of the guardsmen say that they would need a log to hold up the carriage as they fixed the wheel.

    “Then go find one.” The other spat.

    “I’m not going out there alone.” Said the other, obviously too afraid to go into the wilderness alone.

    “Don’t be such a baby, just go get the thing so we can be on our way.”  The argued for a moment longer and finally the one gave in and went with the other to find a proper log.  Ash thought now was his chance to slip by.  As he slowly and quietly made his way closer to the carriage, he saw a large water pouch hanging from one of the horses pulling the carriage.  He eyed it and thought he could take it and no one would ever know.  It’s not like the Guard really needed it, they had horses and probably a whole bunch of extra supplies in the carriage itself.  He darted around to the horse and it gave a soft whine,

    “Shh, it’s okay there buddy.” Ash said soothingly and pet the horse who had calmed down almost immediately.  Ash unhooked the water pouch from the leather strap that tied it and before he could make off with it, a voice came from behind him.

    “What do you think you are doing?” he turned around to see a girl about his age dressed in a long flowing white dress and a pastel blue cloak with gold trimming at the end.  She stood in front of him, her long gazelle antlers stretched to the sky and crossed her arms.  Ash was stunned, why didn’t he think someone would be in the carriage? He could run, he should run, but then it was too late.  This girl was calling for her guards to come to her and in an instant, they were there.  Ash couldn’t outrun them; he was already so tired from the traveling over the last couple days so he did the only thing he could think of.  He drew his bow and pulled an arrow from the quiver, and within the span of a few seconds, he had lodged a single arrow in one of the guards and two in the other and both fell to the ground, dead.  The gazelle girl stood there staring at Ash in complete horror, shock and fear was overtaking her.  Ash knew because not only could he see it, he could smell it. 

    “I’m not going to hurt you.” He said and returned his bow to his back.  Ash stepped closer to her and the girl took a big step back,

    “Stay away from me!” she shrieked.  Ash leaned down and picked up the water pouch and stood upright again, never taking his eye off of her.

    “This is all I wanted.  I never wanted to kill anyone.” Ash said and he looked at the two dead bodies on the ground and he felt as though he should feel bad, but he didn’t.  When he saw them laying there, he only felt proud.  Now there were two less Guards in the world and two less to destroy homes and families; the world was better off.  Ash had never thought someone could ever make him so angry and vengeful, but after they took Tala, that changed everything he thought he knew.  Ash took another look at the girl who still stood like stone in fear, staring at him with wide golden eyes.  He tucked the water pouch into his pack and turned to leave her.

    “You’re not going to kill me?” She asked, fear still in her voice.

    “No, like I said, I never wanted to kill anyone.” Ash replied without turning to face her or stopping his pace of walking.  There was a pause and then he heard the girl cry,

    “You can’t just leave me here!” Ash ignored her.

    “Please, at least take me with you!” she begged and he could hear her footsteps behind him and Ash kept walking.

    “If you leave me here alone I will die.  And that’s just the same as you putting an arrow in my heart.” This made Ash stop but he still didn’t turn and face her, her footsteps stopped as well.

    “Look, take me back home to Sunrise and I promise you all the food and water you wish for.” She said and Ash thought of this, though food and water would hardly be worth it, maybe something else would,

    “Take you back?” he said slowly still without turning,

    “Yes, take me back and you will be rewarded.” She said so certainly. 

    “How do you know this?” Ash could only think of how he would be arrested or killed for entering Sunrise, how could she possibly grant him freedom from either of those fates?

    “Because I am Gazania, princess of Sunrise.” She said in a sort of way as though she practiced saying it over and over again, it felt dry and bland, but if it was true, if she truly was the princess of Sunrise, she could promise him freedom, and probably more.  Ash turned to look at her,

    “How do I know you’re not lying?” he asked, starting to circle her.

    “My tiara is in the carriage, I can show you—“ she began but Ash cut her off,

    “I think I need more proof than just some silly crown.” Even though Ash knew there probably wasn’t any real proof she could present him with that would make him believe her completely. 

    “What were you doing in Thorn Burrow?” Ash asked, now curious about what business a princess had with a small element village.

    “That is none of your concern.” She said firmly.

    “Oh no?” he said, looking at her and raising an eyebrow.

    “Isn’t it though? The way I see it, you’re life is in my hands, and though I never wanted to kill anyone, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash to do it again if I sense that you may betray me. So, princess,” he said incredulously.

    “Start proving to me who you say you are as if your life depends on it…Because it does very much.”   She stared at him at first what looked like a glare, but quickly turned into fear again.  She knew she had no other choice.

    “I wasn’t in Thorn Burrow, I was coming back home from Brezland” Ash had never heard of that place,

    “And what were you doing there?” Ash asked,

    “Training.” Gazania said flatly.

    “Training? For what?”

    “Royalty training.” She sighed

    “Why couldn’t you just do that in Sunrise?” Ash asked, more confused and he could see Gazania was losing her patience with these questions.

    “Never mind, so how can you prove to me that you really are the princess?” he asked and for a moment she didn’t reply.

    “I have nothing.  I have my tiara and gold in my carriage, but that is all I have to show you. I really am the princess though, and if you just take me home, you will be the guest of honor at a glorious feast.”  Ash couldn’t tell if she was trying to bribe him, or if this was simply the only tactic she knew.  He looked into her eyes and they seemed sincere, and he sighed.  If he took her back, he wouldn’t need to go to Thorn Burrow at all; instead he could go to Sunrise and trade the princess for his sister and their freedom. 

    “What about the guards?” he said, eyeing the two dead men on the ground.

    “I won’t tell, just promise to take me back and I give you my oath.” She said with desperation in her voice.  He still wasn’t sure if he could completely trust her, but if Tala was really in trouble, and if she was still alive, this might be his best and quickest bet.  There still was no guarantee that the Land Elder would agree to help him.  He thought over it all once again in silence and finally made up his mind.  Yes, trading the princess for his sister was the best and quickest option. 

    “Alright.” He said slowly.

    “Alright?” Gazania repeated,

    “I will take you back if you swear to me I will be allowed my freedom.”

    “Done.” She said without hesitation.

    “And,” he started,

    “And?” she asked, looking at him through slit eyes,

    “I need you to swear on your life, that I can have my sister back from the Guard.” Ash closed his eyes and thought of where Tala might be and he put his hand in his pocket and felt the soft ribbon in his fingers.

    “The Guard took your sister?” Gazania asked, honestly sounding concerned.  Ash opened his eyes again and looked at her,

“Yes.  Promise me that her and I will be granted freedom and I will take you home.” He said sternly, staring at her and his eyes not leaving hers as she stood up straight and agreed.
  • Listening to: They Don't Need to Understand - Andy Black
  • Reading: Go Ask Alice & Seekers: The Quest Begins
  • Eating: Turkey & cheese sammich
  • Drinking: Water ~
Ash by MoriahKristine
Ash
Quick sketch of Ash.  I'm no good at drawing anthros (furries) so I just borrowed someone elses drawing and traced it really quick to make it look more like Ash.  It gives you an idea anyhow [xD]
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Prologue

There is a myth that is known by all across the land and it is this:
Long ago when the world was young, the Gods and Goddess’ of the stars gifted the people with a crystal made of magic.  The people rejoiced and celebrated the magic.  The elders split the magic evenly among the people, divided into the six nations based on the people’s affinities with each type of magic, Day, Night, Nature, Water, Fire and Air.  The people lived in perfect harmony.

Until the Night nation decided they were not satisfied with their portion of magic and began to steal the magic from the other nations, and thus, began a war.  Pain, chaos and misery spread over the land and caused a rift between the nations.  Harmony and balance was lost.

It wasn’t until the Day nation had gathered all their sources and banished the Night nation to the farthest corner of the land and took back magic and ended the war.  For the protection of all the nations, the Day nation claimed all the magic over the land and kept it safely hidden in the Day nation temple so none others could ever be tempted by its evil powers.  The Night nation was lost and never was a threat to the Day nation, or any other nation again.  Magic became outlawed and any who are caught with or using magic of any kind are to be executed.  This keeps all nations balanced, equal and without evil.

Chapter 1
Fire and Blood


There was a noise and all went still.  Ash twitched his ear back to listen closer to the distant sound.  Although his hearing was great, he was unsure of these particular sounds.  He tensed all his muscles in his body ready to attack and his fur stood on end from his head down to the tip of his tail.  He was out hunting in the red zone, which were the areas that was out of bounds for his village to pass.  There were red zones all around the village, and fences to keep others out, or too keep him and his village in.  He wasn’t exactly sure.  They were owned by the Day Nation and anyone who wasn’t in the Day Nation, could be killed on sight just for trespassing.  Ash snuck past the fences and into the red zones often, they were the best places to be alone in the quiet, away from the filthy and sick-infested village he called home, and of course, it was the best place for hunting for any real food.  Something better than the cheap seed stuff that the Day Nation sent in barrels once a month.  Ash was on one of his usual hunting runs, hoping to catch a small rodent or maybe even a bird, but when a strange noise caught him off guard, he listened hard to the sounds around him.

The birds were quiet, nothing was out fluttering and especially not singing, there seemed to be no wind at all and then suddenly, there was a loud crash of thunder in the sky above.
Ash jumped and his stone gray fur bristled, a chill ran down his back as he tensed with anxiety.  His breathing was fast and heavy and when he looked to the sky through the treetops, a small droplet of water landed gently atop his long nose.  He wrinkled his nose and shook off all the tension in his body and stood back on two paws.  He lowered his bow and arrow and then his nose wrinkled again.  Smoke.  He sniffed, lifting his nose into the air.  He sniffed until he had decided the smoke was coming from the west and a spark of shock bolted through his body.  He started running and came to a hill covered in trees that overlooked a tiny, quiet village that was now engulfed with flames.

‘Oh no, Tala!’ Ash thought and ran as fast as he could back to his village to find himself standing in a nightmare.  The bodies of his neighbors and friends and people he had grown up with, all slaughtered and bleeding out in the roads.  The Guard was charging into homes and slaughtering families one by one, and dragging the young ones out.  To do what with them, Ash didn’t know, nobody ever knew where the Guard took them, the only thing that was known, was if you were taken by the Guard, you would never see anyone you had ever known ever again.  Ash didn’t hesitate to charge and bolt right past the fence and into his flaming village.  He dodged falling beams of wood and lifted his jacket hood over his head when he ducked under a flaming pillar that had fallen into a building beside it.  He ran down the small dirt road off the main road of his village.  He barely had a seconds chance to dive headfirst into a bush with sharp branches before a woman and a Guard on his horse came running around the corner.  The fox woman screamed and when he caught he by the hair, she went limp, pleading with all she had,

“Please! Please, I have two small children, two pups that are too young to be without their mother.  Please, they need me! Please, you wouldn’t want two pups without their mother!” Ash bit his tongue and dug his fingers into the ground to keep himself from jumping out and revealing himself.  He had no way of saving this woman, no matter how much he might want too, he was defenseless against the Guard, even with his bow and arrows, there was no telling how many more Guards would come around the corner at any moment.  Ash looked up at the man on the horse.  He wore the same armor all of the Guard wore.  The suit of armor was well polished silver while the chainmail underneath was gold.  The shoulder plate on the left side was bigger than the pauldron on the right and it wore the crest of the Day Nation, engraved in its metal.  The rams horns came out of the gold helmet and the only thing that set this guard aside the others were the engravings in his armor, designs of the Day Nation that marked his rank.

“Please, take anything I have, but spare me my life, for my children! Here,” she fumbled into her side pouch and pulled out a few small brown coins.
“Here, it is all I have, you can take this and my home, but please don’t take me from my chi—“ and then she went silent, the thick red line on her throat opening and splitting blood into the dirt.  She thudded to the ground and it took all of Ash’s strength to not jump out and go for the own mans’ throat.  The Guard took her few coins and rode off and out of sight.  Only then did Ash jump out and even though he knew it was useless, he ran to the woman and looked down at her aged brown-red face.  Her blue eyes glistened lifeless up into the sky.  Ash wished he could have saved her, but it was now too late and he gently closed her eyelids with his fingertips.  Then there came a scream from close behind him and he ran as fast as he could down the street and ducked into an alley.  A moment later, two Guards on horses with short swords chased a couple.  Ash held his breath as they passed and then took off down the alley.  Around the corner from the alley there was a small house at the end of the lane and he ran for it, kicking the door open when he had arrived.  Ash had only one on his mind, only one to save and it was Tala.

“Tala!” he cried as loud as he could.  Nothing.

“Tala! Where are you?” he called again.  Still nothing but silence.  Fear and anger  overtook him and with that sudden rush.  He searched under the beds and in cabinets and under the tables.  She had to be here, she just had to be.  Ash was stopped for a moment by the sight of movement.  He turned to see himself staring back at him through a shattered mirror.  His gray fur with a stripe of darker gray that ran down the back of his long bushy tail and his white paws were all dirty as filth. His shaggy black hair was knotted and messy and strands fell into his eyes.  His face was covered in brown dirt and his honey golden eyes stared back at him, tired sore and scared.  

Ash raced from the home and into the streets, calling for Tala as loud as he could.  His heart pumped hard and he felt all of his insides grow hotter and hotter, or was that the fire?  He raced into the heart of the village, into the heart of the chaos.  When he reached the main street he was stopped dead in his tracks.  There was Tala, his poor baby sister with her brown messy hair around her face with her little light gray ears barely poking out of the mess.  She looked horrified and scared as she stood in the iron cage on the back of a wagon and all Ash could think of was saving her.  

“Tala!” he yelled and she looked up, and even from yards away, he could see her sparkling blue eyes and he knew they were filled with tears.  He could feel his own eyes begin to burn with tears beaconing behind them.

“Ash!” Tala screamed and Ash raced for her, but before he could reach her he was grabbed by a leopard man wearing the Day Nation armor.

“Got another one here!” he yelled and an eagle man looked up.

“Great, bring ‘im ‘ere.” He said and the leopard went to pick Ash up, but he was fast and climbed up the man’s body and jumped from his shoulders and hit the dirt with a thud before he rolled into a crouching position.  He lifted his bow and aimed his arrow right for the leopards neck.  Another two guards came around the corner with some more small children,

“What’s going on here?” they said, then tossed the other ones into the cage with Tala and they cried out, calling for their parents, their dead parents that would never come.  The ram man came riding up on his horse with his long sword drawn,

“Come quietly and we’ll let you live.” He said in a low gruff voice.  Ash didn’t think he could shot them all, not before they managed to get to him.  There were too many of them and he didn’t even have enough arrows for each of them.  He knew he should have restocked this morning.  He kept low to the ground, keenly aware of each guards’ position.  They all had their weapons drawn and he was circled.

“Ah, he’s not gunna come quietly, let’s just finish him off.” Said the leopard man and he took a step closer.  A growl rolled in the back of Ash’s throat.

“Go ahead, Collin, send ‘em off, this one won’t make it.” the ram ordered the eagle man,

“Yes sir!” and he went off to the front of the wagon, leading the horses.  With a whip the horses took off and Tala screamed,

“Ash! Help me! Ash! Don’t let them take me!” she cried and everything inside Ash hurt.  What could he do? How could he rescue her? He wasn’t sure, but he knew he must.  The horses picked up speed and Tala was getting further and further away.  He needed to figure out what he was going to do and do it.  Fast.  

“Alright Hayden, lets head out.  Finish the runt.” Said the ram man on the horse and he trotted off after the wagon.  The leopard man, Hayden moved closer with his sword still out.

“ASH! HELP ME! PLEASE!” Tala screamed.  Without another thought, Ash released his arrow into the leopards’ direction but it only grazed off of his armor.  Hayden smiled and made a tsk tsk.

“Someone didn’t train you proper, that’s not how you treat your Guard now, is it?” he said mockingly  Ash drew another arrow and aimed it again and this time it went right through his ear and Hayden let out a yowl.  The other guards turned around to see the matter and Ash bolted for his life.  

“No! I’m fine! Little bastard pierced my ear!” Hayden growled,

“No, no! He’s mine.” He continued, obviously turning any aid away.  Ash’s heart pounded and he looked behind him to see Hayden running right after him and lifting his sword.  Beyond him he saw the wagon with Tala in it only getting further and further out of sight.  Soon, it was lost among the trees and forest.  Ash kept running, as fast and he could and finally he made it to the boarder gate and Hayden laughed out loud.

“Nowhere to go now, runt! You’re mine!” he said, but Ash knew this way, he climbed this gate every day, he knew all the foot holds and places to grab and when he reached it, he was up and over it within seconds.  Hayden was caught off guard for a moment, cursed and began climbing the fence.  Ash didn’t hesitate; he ran into the thick of the forest, up the hill and wouldn’t slow until he knew for sure he was in the clear.  If he died now, there would be no hope for Tala at all.  He heard the stomping and clattering of Hayden behind him, but Hayden was losing speed, he wasn’t used to these woods.  Ash kept running and pushing himself past the trees and finally the land flattened again and made it even easier for him to run. He ran far beyond his hunting boarder.  There was never any need to go further, so he never had, but now, he must because his life was at risk.  He couldn’t hear Hayden behind him anymore, but Ash still didn’t slow, he kept running and panting hard.  He looked quickly behind him for Hayden and saw nothing but trees and darkness lay behind him.  Next thing he knew, he was falling and then everything went black.
Ready for the Day by MoriahKristine
Ready for the Day
I've been extremely inactive here, so here's just some pictures from my phone so you all know I'm not dead [xD]
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Chapter 2
Water and Gold

     

    Ash awoke with a pounding in his head and something wet on his backside.  He slowly opened his eyes to see only blackness around him.  The smell of dirt and decaying leaves surrounded him.  He sat up and felt hard, damp earth beneath him.  He rubbed the back of his head to check for injuries, luckily, he seemed to be alright.  His eyes slowly adjusted to the dark and he couldn’t see much around him no matter how hard he stared into the dark.  From the echoing of some water dripping, the hole sounded much larger than it appeared to be.  Ash knelt down and dug into his hunting pack that he thankfully managed to not lose.  Inside he pulled out his flint and steel set and gathered some dried leaves and twigs from around his feet and fastened himself a small torch.  After some time, light was flooding the inside of a cave, dancing delicately across the walls.  As Ash walked around, the pads on his paws made a light pat with each step he took.  Along the cave walls were strange red markings Ash didn’t recognize.  They looked like they had been painted on year ago.  There were some old broken pots, play things, and other oddities Ash had never seen before.  He wondered who would have lived down here, and why.  He went back to the markings on the wall and tried to decipher them, but it was in a language completely unknown to him, he had never seen anything like it.  But there was no time to figure this out now, he had to try to rescue Tala, if it wasn’t already too late.  He headed for the opening in the ground above him from where he fell in, but before he started to climb, some more markings on the wall caught his eye.  He recognized some of them; he could read some of these words.  He wasn’t exactly sure, but his best guess was something he must have learned as a child, maybe when he was still in school, when he was Tala’s age.  He leaned in closer and lifted the torch to the wall.  Light bounced across the wall and its markings

“…A burning era will begin and…thriving will die by the hand...” Ash whispered quietly to himself.  He couldn’t make out anything else, and after this bit, giving him the chills, he wasn’t sure he wanted to read the rest.  He turned away and put the torch in his teeth and climbed up the stone wall, leaving the forgotten cave behind. 

    Outside in the cool night air, everything was still and quiet.  All the animals were asleep and even the wind seemed to be sleeping because all around him was silence.  Ash started backtracking towards his village and when he got there, the fears all boiled up in him again and anxiety rushed through him.  Suddenly, he was alert and tense.  The tall fence that surrounded his village, to keep the people in served no purpose anymore, there was no one left.  He needed to find Tala, he needed to rescue her and he would die trying if he must.  Ash stopped by his old home to prepare a better pack for a long journey; Sunrise was days away and he wanted to be more equipped.  When he was set to go, he took one last look around at Tala’s play things and tears were fighting again in his eyes.  He looked over to a ring of flowers and grass that made a crown and he remembered how in the spring Tala made one for him and how he refused to wear it, now he’d give anything for her to make him a crown of flowers, and oh, how he would walk around so proud with it upon his head.  On the floor lay a small blue ribbon, one Tala often wore in her hair or around her wrist.  She called it her Wish Ribbon and she had told Ash that someday, she would tie it onto the Wish Tree so that all her deepest wishes would come true.  Ash picked up the delicate ribbon and held it close to his heart and he could hear her voice clear in his mind as if it were just earlier this morning they were sitting out in the grassy hill just on the outskirts of their village.

    Ash sat with his back against the fence, watching his little sister play in the field of white and yellow flowers.  She gathered them up and made a bouquet.  She brought them to Ash who smiled at his sister,

    “They’re beautiful.” He said and she smiled, pleased that her brother was approving.  She pulled out a small blue ribbon she had in her pocket and wrapped it around the stems of the flowers, but it kept falling because she didn’t know how to make a bow yet.

    “Ash, it won’t stay.” She said, confused at her error.  Ash lead up and reached his hand out,

    “Here, let me show you.” He said and she handed him the ribbon.  She watched him tie it around the stems,

    “The rabbit goes over then under and around and through.” Ash said slowly as he showed Tala how to tie.  When he completely the bow Tala got excited,

    “Let me try!” she said and Ash undid the bow.  She brought the ribbon around and around the stem and crossed the two ends but it fell and Tala was sad,

    “What is it little wolf?” he asked,

    “I’ll never be able to do it like you. I’m no good.” She said and tears formed in the corner of her eyes.  Ash set the ribbon and flowers down and placed his hand gently under her chin to get her to look him in the eye.

    “Never say you’re never any good.  You are Tala, my little wolf and the most beautiful and smart and fun of all the little wolves in the world! There is no one like you.  You are special and wonderful, some things just take practice and eventually you’ll get it.” He said and Tala gave a small smile.

    “Now, want to try again?” he asked and she nodded.  Ash had brought Tala to sit in front of him and he reached his arms around her to tie the bow around her flowers.  After he had shown her a second time, she was ready to try again.  This time he guided her with the rhyme and she completely the bow.

    “I did it! Look Ash! I made a bow like you!” she squealed with accomplishment.

    “Good job, little wolf!” He said proudly and she hugged him,

    “You know what?” She said when she pulled away from him and admired her bow around her flowers,

    “What?” Ash asked, leaning back on the fence.

    “I think that this is a perfect ribbon for my wish ribbon.” She said with a smile,

    “What is a wish ribbon?” Ash asked,

    “Emilie from school told me about them.  It’s a special ribbon that you make a wish on and then you tie it to a wishing tree so your wish will come true.”

    “What’s a wishing tree?” Ash asked, genuinely curious.

    “It’s a tree that’s covered in all sorts of different colored ribbons that other people put there for their wises.”

    “Where can you find one of these trees?”

    “I don’t know, but maybe when I’m older, I’ll learn about it in school, or a traveler will come and tell us about one.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Ash? A tree that can grant your wish?” there was so much enthusiasm and excitement in her voice.

    “That would be really wonderful, little wolf.  I tell you what, if I ever find a wishing tree, I will take you there so you can tie the ribbon onto the tree.”

    “Really?” Tala jumped and looked at him and Ash nodded.

    “You’re the best!” She jumped into a hug and wrapped her arms tight around his neck and he hugged her back.

     

     “I will save you, Little Wolf.” He whispered into the cold empty room and then he turned away from his home and left it too behind him. 

    Out on the road it was quiet and dark, Ash’s torch was long gone at this point, if the Guard came this way, they would capture him or worse, kill him.  He was better left in the dark, shadowing himself in the night.  It felt like he had walked a long time and he was starting to worry that maybe he had taken the wrong road, but then he saw a sign at a fork and ran up to read,

    “Land Nation” with an arrow pointing north and “Sunrise City” with an arrow pointing west and he knew he was on the right track.  It had been a long time since he had traveled to Sunrise.  As he walked he remembered when he was just a pup and he was traveling with his father to Sunrise for a business trip.  Ash’s mother was left at home because she was with child and unable to make the long trip, so while Ash’s aunt was taking care of his mother, he went with his father to learn their trade.  He learned how to farm the land already, and now he was learning how to sell their crops to Sunrise City traders for other things they needed back at home.  Ash’s father explained to him,

    “You see, son.  We grow the ground foods, like corn and pumpkins and carrots, but the people in Sunrise don’t have the room or the land to go these things, so we trade our ground foods for something that we don’t have in our village, like meat and fabric and materials for clothing. 

    “Why don’t we just make our own meat and fabric at home?” the young Ash wondered.  He didn’t understand why someone should have to travel so far just for meat.

    “Because that’s how the trade works.  We don’t have the license to keep our own meat or make our own fabric.” His dad explained.  Ash was still confused,

    “What is a lie-sense” Ash asked,

    “A license is a special paper that lets you do something.  Like our village has the license for growing the ground foods as long as we sell them to Sunrise City.”

    “Do all villages have a lie-sense?” Ash was amazed at how complicated the outside world was.  He would have never guessed that there were so many rules and things to remember outside of his village.

    “Yes, they do, and they’re all different.  Like the villages in the south have licenses for fishing and selling their catch.”

    “What is a fishing?” Ash’s questions just kept coming and he felt like there could never be enough answers in the world for all the questions he had.  Ash’s father laughed lightheartedly,

    “You’ll learn all of this and more, my son, in time.”

    Ash was pulled back into reality when he walked by what looked like what was left of a camp from the previous night.  It had to have been the Guards from his village.  Finally, the sun began to dawn and it almost seemed as if all of the plants around him woke up with it.  The tree limbs seemed to shift and all the leaves swayed and fluttered as if searching for the sun for another day of promised life.  What felt like a lifetime later, Ash could see the trees breaking up and becoming more separated in the distance.  When he reached the opening, he stood at the beginning of a large clearing of hills and grasslands that stretched for miles and miles.  After walking down the small dirt road through the tall grass and over the hills, Ash reached the top of a hill and overlooked the gates of Sunrise City.  The Guard was nowhere to be seen, which meant they must have made it back to the city already.  There was no chance of him being able to just knock on the door and ask for his sister back.  Surely they would capture him as well, if they even let him live.  He was helpless on his own, he needed help.  Ash sat atop the grassy hill next to a log and thought about where he could get help, and the only place he could think of to ask was the Land nations’ Elder, in Thorn Burrow.  Unfortunately, Thorn Burrow was at least eight days away, if not nine; Tala might not even be alive by then.  But it was all Ash could think of, and he had to try.  While he sat and rested, he ate a quick lunch of something he packed, some berries and nuts he gathered from past the limits.   After he finished, he stood up and went about his journey.  He backtracked to the fork in the road and this time took the path to the north and it occurred to him that he had never been this way before.  He had traveled to Sunrise City only a handful of times throughout his life, but they were never allowed anywhere else, never anywhere off of their trade route, so Ash never even considered taking this path until today.  He wasn’t sure what he was expecting, it to be lined with the Guard or men patrolling the pathway to keep him from his destination, to tell him that he was out of his territory and to either kill him or arrest him, but none of this happened.  The walk was quiet and peaceful, nothing of interest happened and Ash grew restless.  By the first days end, he was hungry again, and was out of berries and nuts.  He needed real food.  He needed meat.  He only had a single arrow left and was saving it in case he needed to defend himself.  He could make a trap, but that seemed to take too long, he was so hungry now, so his hunger got the best of him and he decided it was worth the potential loss of his arrow.  He found himself a rabbit and his arrow survived the kill, it was just a little bloody.  Ash made camp far from the trail and made a small fire to cook his catch.  After he ate he put out the fire, from fear someone might see the light or smell the smoke and sought him out.  He still wasn’t tired and decided it might be wise to make some more arrows with his time.  By morning, he had a whole quiver full of arrows and felt much more at ease knowing he could protect himself much better than before.  He set off again and so his journey continued. 

    Days later, Ash came to another fork in the road, one arrow pointing north that read, “Hazelden” and another arrow pointing east that read, “Thorn Burrow”.  Ash had never heard of Stone Hills before, and he wondered what they might be like.  He continued on the path for Thorn Burrow.  Ash’s supply of water was getting very low despite him trying to make it last.  He wondered if he could make the rest of the trip with the little he had.  Food was easy to find, but water was a completely different matter.  He thought there would have been more streams along this path, but so far, he had no such luck finding anything.  The next day he had crouched into the bushes and trees off of the pathway.  A carriage had broken down on its way to Sunrise City and two men from the Guard were fixing the wheel.  The carriage seemed to shine with pure gold and gems, Ash wrinkled his nose at the sight of it.  It was more looks than function, which was real necessary for a carriage that was to take you traveling places.  Ash waited and overheard one of the guardsmen say that they would need a log to hold up the carriage as they fixed the wheel.

    “Then go find one.” The other spat.

    “I’m not going out there alone.” Said the other, obviously too afraid to go into the wilderness alone.

    “Don’t be such a baby, just go get the thing so we can be on our way.”  The argued for a moment longer and finally the one gave in and went with the other to find a proper log.  Ash thought now was his chance to slip by.  As he slowly and quietly made his way closer to the carriage, he saw a large water pouch hanging from one of the horses pulling the carriage.  He eyed it and thought he could take it and no one would ever know.  It’s not like the Guard really needed it, they had horses and probably a whole bunch of extra supplies in the carriage itself.  He darted around to the horse and it gave a soft whine,

    “Shh, it’s okay there buddy.” Ash said soothingly and pet the horse who had calmed down almost immediately.  Ash unhooked the water pouch from the leather strap that tied it and before he could make off with it, a voice came from behind him.

    “What do you think you are doing?” he turned around to see a girl about his age dressed in a long flowing white dress and a pastel blue cloak with gold trimming at the end.  She stood in front of him, her long gazelle antlers stretched to the sky and crossed her arms.  Ash was stunned, why didn’t he think someone would be in the carriage? He could run, he should run, but then it was too late.  This girl was calling for her guards to come to her and in an instant, they were there.  Ash couldn’t outrun them; he was already so tired from the traveling over the last couple days so he did the only thing he could think of.  He drew his bow and pulled an arrow from the quiver, and within the span of a few seconds, he had lodged a single arrow in one of the guards and two in the other and both fell to the ground, dead.  The gazelle girl stood there staring at Ash in complete horror, shock and fear was overtaking her.  Ash knew because not only could he see it, he could smell it. 

    “I’m not going to hurt you.” He said and returned his bow to his back.  Ash stepped closer to her and the girl took a big step back,

    “Stay away from me!” she shrieked.  Ash leaned down and picked up the water pouch and stood upright again, never taking his eye off of her.

    “This is all I wanted.  I never wanted to kill anyone.” Ash said and he looked at the two dead bodies on the ground and he felt as though he should feel bad, but he didn’t.  When he saw them laying there, he only felt proud.  Now there were two less Guards in the world and two less to destroy homes and families; the world was better off.  Ash had never thought someone could ever make him so angry and vengeful, but after they took Tala, that changed everything he thought he knew.  Ash took another look at the girl who still stood like stone in fear, staring at him with wide golden eyes.  He tucked the water pouch into his pack and turned to leave her.

    “You’re not going to kill me?” She asked, fear still in her voice.

    “No, like I said, I never wanted to kill anyone.” Ash replied without turning to face her or stopping his pace of walking.  There was a pause and then he heard the girl cry,

    “You can’t just leave me here!” Ash ignored her.

    “Please, at least take me with you!” she begged and he could hear her footsteps behind him and Ash kept walking.

    “If you leave me here alone I will die.  And that’s just the same as you putting an arrow in my heart.” This made Ash stop but he still didn’t turn and face her, her footsteps stopped as well.

    “Look, take me back home to Sunrise and I promise you all the food and water you wish for.” She said and Ash thought of this, though food and water would hardly be worth it, maybe something else would,

    “Take you back?” he said slowly still without turning,

    “Yes, take me back and you will be rewarded.” She said so certainly. 

    “How do you know this?” Ash could only think of how he would be arrested or killed for entering Sunrise, how could she possibly grant him freedom from either of those fates?

    “Because I am Gazania, princess of Sunrise.” She said in a sort of way as though she practiced saying it over and over again, it felt dry and bland, but if it was true, if she truly was the princess of Sunrise, she could promise him freedom, and probably more.  Ash turned to look at her,

    “How do I know you’re not lying?” he asked, starting to circle her.

    “My tiara is in the carriage, I can show you—“ she began but Ash cut her off,

    “I think I need more proof than just some silly crown.” Even though Ash knew there probably wasn’t any real proof she could present him with that would make him believe her completely. 

    “What were you doing in Thorn Burrow?” Ash asked, now curious about what business a princess had with a small element village.

    “That is none of your concern.” She said firmly.

    “Oh no?” he said, looking at her and raising an eyebrow.

    “Isn’t it though? The way I see it, you’re life is in my hands, and though I never wanted to kill anyone, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash to do it again if I sense that you may betray me. So, princess,” he said incredulously.

    “Start proving to me who you say you are as if your life depends on it…Because it does very much.”   She stared at him at first what looked like a glare, but quickly turned into fear again.  She knew she had no other choice.

    “I wasn’t in Thorn Burrow, I was coming back home from Brezland” Ash had never heard of that place,

    “And what were you doing there?” Ash asked,

    “Training.” Gazania said flatly.

    “Training? For what?”

    “Royalty training.” She sighed

    “Why couldn’t you just do that in Sunrise?” Ash asked, more confused and he could see Gazania was losing her patience with these questions.

    “Never mind, so how can you prove to me that you really are the princess?” he asked and for a moment she didn’t reply.

    “I have nothing.  I have my tiara and gold in my carriage, but that is all I have to show you. I really am the princess though, and if you just take me home, you will be the guest of honor at a glorious feast.”  Ash couldn’t tell if she was trying to bribe him, or if this was simply the only tactic she knew.  He looked into her eyes and they seemed sincere, and he sighed.  If he took her back, he wouldn’t need to go to Thorn Burrow at all; instead he could go to Sunrise and trade the princess for his sister and their freedom. 

    “What about the guards?” he said, eyeing the two dead men on the ground.

    “I won’t tell, just promise to take me back and I give you my oath.” She said with desperation in her voice.  He still wasn’t sure if he could completely trust her, but if Tala was really in trouble, and if she was still alive, this might be his best and quickest bet.  There still was no guarantee that the Land Elder would agree to help him.  He thought over it all once again in silence and finally made up his mind.  Yes, trading the princess for his sister was the best and quickest option. 

    “Alright.” He said slowly.

    “Alright?” Gazania repeated,

    “I will take you back if you swear to me I will be allowed my freedom.”

    “Done.” She said without hesitation.

    “And,” he started,

    “And?” she asked, looking at him through slit eyes,

    “I need you to swear on your life, that I can have my sister back from the Guard.” Ash closed his eyes and thought of where Tala might be and he put his hand in his pocket and felt the soft ribbon in his fingers.

    “The Guard took your sister?” Gazania asked, honestly sounding concerned.  Ash opened his eyes again and looked at her,

“Yes.  Promise me that her and I will be granted freedom and I will take you home.” He said sternly, staring at her and his eyes not leaving hers as she stood up straight and agreed.
  • Listening to: They Don't Need to Understand - Andy Black
  • Reading: Go Ask Alice & Seekers: The Quest Begins
  • Eating: Turkey & cheese sammich
  • Drinking: Water ~

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:iconkira-kitsunka:
Kira-Kitsunka Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2015  Hobbyist
:iconthankyouplz: for watch ^^
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:iconxxlost-boyxx:
xXLost-BoyXx Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2014
Happy Birth Day Fella (messages) Delicious Cake (Badges) Cheers fella (party) fella Gift (Party) fella's Gobbler (Party) Blower fella (Party) Flowers fella (Love) 
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:iconj-poink:
j-Poink Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heyyyyy! I don't know if you remember me, we were friends on my old dA and Facebook. My old dA was Codin-the-Fe-Matoran

Anyway ima +Watch and get up to date :highfive:
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:iconmoriahkristine:
MoriahKristine Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I sort of remember [xD] The name sounds familiar, it's been awhile since I've really been on dA, I just get on once in awhile...I'm not really into it as much as I used to be. Haha
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:iconj-poink:
j-Poink Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Same lol, I only just came back after being gone for a straight year. Online art is hard to stay on top of when you have irl responsibilities ^^;
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