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Monthly Writing Prompt
For this month's writing prompt write a scene using the following sentence to start;

The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

Writing Tip
Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 To Know Black and White - Part 2 (7-10B)

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TerishD

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TerishD

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PostSubject: To Know Black and White - Part 2 (7-10B)   To Know Black and White - Part 2 (7-10B) Icon_minitimeMay 15th 2019, 6:36 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Seven – Part One

(Hallith)

I woke up to Ayither kicking my feet.  That was how she would wake me.  I thought about her past of dealing with other divine champions of various gods, then considered my own reason for kicking the feet instead of using another method of waking someone up.

"You scared that I will grab a weapon and attack?"

She smiled as she answered, "No, but I have had it happen.  Shake your shoulders and you could just tell me something while continuing to sleep.  Kick your feet and you have to sit up to deal with it, which almost assures that you wake up."

"Makes sense," I said while sitting up.  "Did Terish wake you?  He is known to simply stay up."

"Straekin woke me.  I think she wanted him to go back to bed with her.  Anyway, they blamed you for the meat.  You can blame me for how it is cooked.  Oh, I did remember that Menasha was a vegetarian, so no fault there."

"That was nice of you, Ayither."

She laughed, then said, "I will tell Slidell that you said that.  Now, get up.  We have a hole to go jump in."

I got up, freshened up, then ate basically accepting that I would be eating variations of the same dish for a while as Ayither practiced the techniques.  Really had nothing against that.  It did have some texture, and the taste was not bad.  If I had some suggestion for her, I would have said it.  I instead ate the dish wondering if Straekin would come up with another idea for Ayither to try.

A patrol did not really send up an alarm upon spotting us, but they did make it known they were suspicious of our presence.  Since we were here only due to following rumors, Terish did prolong the meeting with the military hoping to find someone in the company of soldiers who could give us substantial directions.  What however arrived was a mass of citizens along with some nobles riding around the throng as if needing to hurry in order to meet us first.  As I had learned was usual, those who arrived focused on the centaur.  Menasha however dealt with people very well.  As she finished her presentation, Terish took over making it known why we were here.

Ayither acted as our watchful guard moving about our rear keeping track of anyone coming to our backside.  While it was very possible that some did seek opportunity, the mass of people just had a number move around simply to get a view or better hear what we were saying.  Considering the fame of Terish, I really did not get any attention from the people either, but worked with Ayither to simply keep a watchful eye.

One youngster, I suspected just a local urchin, however stepped a little too close, then asked a question when Ayither cut him off.  "Who are you?"

"Ayither, Champion of Typhorsh, god of strong air."

"Are you black or white?"

I thought that was an odd question, and in the way Ayither held herself before him I suspected she did not fully trust him.  "I am storm.  If you expect to not face me, you had better not have a hand go to that bag hanging from what I will allow is your belt."

"I ain't going to steal anything."

"I am storm.  You can either challenge it, or not."

"You don't look so tough."

I stepped over and sent my large blade into the ground next to him.  Ayither held firm, but the lad jumped.  I noticed that he did not direct himself back to the rest of the people, but where he continued to have opportunity among us to possibly grab something.  I stepped up to the lad while making a simple statement.

"She can pull that out of the ground.  How about you?"

Ayither added, "And I will use it to send pain on your butt."

A soldier nearby said, "If he steals, you can use it to chop a hand off."

The glance the lad gave the guard stated that there was some history.  As the youth moved back with the rest of the crowd, Ayither stepped over and grabbed the hilt of my great blade.  She did not just pull it out, but swung it over her head.  The maneuver gained some exclamations of pleasure along with a number stepping back to assure they were not too close.  A section of the nearby crowd then laughed to something the guard said to the lad.

We did end up getting directions.  Enough things were done by us and the officials that everyone felt an exchange could occur without any problems.  While the end was as we desired, after mounting back up and moving away from the locals Menasha spoke of immediate concerns.

"Do you think we can get there today?"

Terish replied, "It's a hole in the ground, Menasha.  Getting there with daylight really will not be a benefit."

Ayither rode up ahead, then said, "They did not give the impression of it being far."

Menasha replied while pointing, "Look at the terrain, Ayither.  It is going to be a rough climb."

Terish added, "And we cannot get there directly.  It will be some switchback to work our way in a manner the mounts can manage."

Ayither waited for the group to start moving, then rode back to me to whisper the question, "And we bring the mounts, why?"

I answered, "Because we never know where we are going next.  That hole in the ground is probably just information.  Also, if something attacks our mounts, it would be for the best if we were close by."

She must have agreed, as she had her horse begin to follow the others.  It was a lengthy period of hard, slow travel.  I saw Ayither however began to take an interest in the terrain.  Just to help pass the time, I had her explain what she found fascinating.  Terish must have agreed with her speaking of possible caves in the stony ground, as he had Menasha turn and stay near Ayither as she spoke of things she was noticing.

The two actually continued the conversation as we kept our progress along the indicated path.  I found myself surprised to hear Ayither keep up a serious discussion.  I never thought of her as stupid, but she would usually boil matters down to basic points.  Something in the composition of the uplifted bedrock however caught her interest, and Terish was one that would search out any source of information.  I found myself having my mount move around in a haphazard manner as Ayither usually did to assure no surprise encounters to allow her and Terish to continue their conversation.

Suddenly, I heard her scream, "HALLITH, TO YOUR RIGHT!"

I turned, and saw movement through the trees and over the rocks.  My first thought was that Ayither had only seen bats.  It was a thick flock of them, but not something unusual.  The sight of a rather large dark mass had me gain my sword.  Thinking that I would keep on my mount in case I needed height against a flying opponent, I set myself to watch the chaotic movements.

It did come at us high.  I thought of the black gaseous entity that I fought with Ayither and others of her world.  I gained the feeling that the dark creature sought to attack Menasha.  Accepting that Terish was with Ayither, I had my mount move before rising in the saddle and striking the black creature as it dove from on high.

If I had not spent time recently caring for my weapons, I would have thought that I had a dull blade.  The bat-like monster however only wrapped around the metal instead of being sliced by it.  Feeling certain that it was not slain by the attack, I wondered what it expected from staying attached to the blade.  Not allowing the extra weight to effect my handling of the weapon, I changed my swing while jumping from my horse to send the sharpened part of my sword into the ground.

I suddenly felt a strong chill.  The sudden drop in temperature did not bother me, as I focused on the manner that the creature slid to the ground when I pulled my blade back up.  I heard the others speak of there being other dark monsters, but I felt the need to take the time and assure mine was dead.  The corpse did appear to be that of a bat, but for its size the wings and body were very thin with extremely fine bones.  Moving it I got a sense of it being of paper and not a real creature.  I suddenly felt another strong chill, and turned seeing Terish who had driven the blade of his lengthy saber into the ground.

He looked at me, then drew Deathguard back up while saying, "I now understand why you did what you did."

I had to ask, "As enchanted as Deathguard is, and it did not kill the monster?"

"Nope.  Definitely not something right about them."

We both turned hearing Ayither yell, "I AM STORM!"

I stopped, as did Terish, upon seeing the small lady rip one of the creatures in half.  I believe both of us wanted to ask her how she did that.  The only thing that stopped us was knowing there were more to kill.  I did not see Terish sheathe Deathguard, but I set my large weapon back in its slot before jumping to swing my arm toward a monster flapping over us.  Just as it had my sword, the creature wrapped around my appendage.  As I landed, I reached with my other hand to grab part of a wing.  Considering that Ayither ripped it, I expected to manage as well.

It did not bite, which surprised me.  I suspected that my arm would be in pain.  Something was happening, but I was not exactly certain what.  Not really wanting to find out, I put my strength toward physically pulling the creature apart.  I felt something happening to my arm.  Thinking of Ayither and her usual boast, I wondered if I needed to yell something.  Instead, I found myself surprised to have Menasha splash water upon me.

The creature split, but it was Terish that explained and not the centaur.  "You're a divine champion of a water god.  Ayither is air, so her element is a little more prevalent."

I looked around for another, but finding the threats no longer present I looked at my arm that had been wrapped by one of the creatures.  It was covered in a layer of water as if from sweat.  Considering how I killed one, and saw Terish kill one, I wanted to know what had been figured out to think of focusing on elemental aspects.

"How did you think of the water, Terish?  You know what these things are?"

"No.  It was a comment from Ayither about feeling the power of her god that had me think of enabling you to feel the power of Zetrullid."  He smiled, then said, "I did not think being splashed with water would bother you."

I heard Ayither ask, "Did it?"

I answered, "No.  I am as pleased in seeing my god promoted as you.  Still, being splashed with water is not the way I have fought my battles."  I then turned back to Terish to ask, "You did not hear the locals mention anything like this?"

Straekin said, "There was something about 'black,' but going down into a hole the word was not considered anything special."

Menasha said, "Well, if we pass a stream we might need to assure our canteens are filled."

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.


Last edited by TerishD on June 9th 2019, 6:36 am; edited 5 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter Seven - Part Two   To Know Black and White - Part 2 (7-10B) Icon_minitimeMay 20th 2019, 7:09 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Seven – Part Two

(Hallith)

We did stop by a stream and check our canteens. I also used the flow of water to say a proper prayer to my god. As usual, I did not hear anything. Zetrullid was not one to speak. I however did know of times when his influence was apparent, and in going to where my god resided I heard him assure me that my prayers were heard. After the stop, we continued on wondering if we would encounter the black monsters again.

It was not that dark when we finally made it to the hole. Scrub plants had surrounded the shaft, but only the passing of time had allowed them to be a thick barrier. The plants did not show signs of thriving in the place. It was Ayither who chopped her way to the hole, then mention a reason for the lack of surviving plants.

"There's no water. Why hasn't it filled up?"

I said, "Don't drop down. Let us set some ropes."

Others spoke their agreement with Ayither replying, "I am going down, but I agree to wait for a rope. I might be storm, but I have to agree that if things erupt it would be nice having others with me."

Terish stressed the wisdom of those words. "We do not know what we could be facing. Thus, yes, let's show a little caution."

Straekin began gathering the material Ayither had chopped away mentioning setting a large piece of the cat to roast. Menasha spoke of preparing some vegetables. I stepped up to Ayither to comment that after we had our fun at the bottom of the hole there should be a full meal to eat. Looking toward where Straekin was speaking of making our camp, Ayither asked about beginning our descent.

"Are you going down, Hallith?"

"No, Ayither," I answered. "I told you that I am not the puzzle person. This is Terish's objective, and he is a puzzle guy. I will stay up here and man the ropes should there be a reason for you to make a hasty retreat."

Terish approached the hole while saying, "Ayither, I will be impressed if you can read anything down there."

She replied, "I'm not going down there to read. There is something here. I'm going down there to find it."

"Well, let me go down first and see what is down there. If there is anything written, it could help us figure out what this is about."

"You are not talking like calm, but just making sense. I can deal with that."

Terish seemed satisfied, as he turned to check with me. I assured him that I had found good foundations to secure one end of the ropes. He did the usual check, then threw the lengths down. Hearing Ayither state her satisfaction with the ropes, Terish agreed that a descent could be made.

The hole went down almost a hundred feet. The diameter of about eight feet gave Ayither and Terish enough room to operate. A magical light source provided illumination, but I only saw a mixture of stone and dirt. There was no sign of the hole being affected by weather conditions or of previous curious people attempting to make some better method of going down.

The two did some checking of things at the bottom with Terish speaking in a manner to assure that I could hear him, "There is something written here."

Ayither said, "But there is no detritus. Here, at the bottom of this hole, there should be leaves, sticks, dirt, even a lot of animal carcasses."

"Good of you to notice. In case you want to know, this writing is a prayer. It is not threatening anyone, but a droning plea for forgiveness. The section that intrigues me, mostly due to our recent battle, is the part that reads, 'Please let not the removal of white be also from my soul. I swear we are not black, but we must preserve the balance.'"

"So what's below could be good?"

"White is usually associated with purity, which does tend to also indicate goodness. Of course, there is the case of what I hear about your world. You do not clam to be good, but storm. Your world considers the balance to be between storm and calm, not good and evil."
Ayither had a cheerful laugh. It was not quick chirps, but an eruption that gave me a sense of pleasure. I enjoyed those moments when she laughed.

She then said, "You got them in the right order."

Terish replied, "Thank you. There however is not anything more I can see. Might need to go back to town and see what more they can tell me."

"There is something here. I can sense it, and the evidence says that it is active. I thus feel that I can activate it."

"Don't. Not right now. Just tell me what you sense."

"There's a cavern below us with water. The water flows. It is magic sealing the cavern, and the floor. The rock under us is part of the magic. The detritus I mentioned is down in the water, although the rush of the water moves it along." There was a momentary pause, then she said, "There is something down there. It knows we're here."

I was rather impressed with what Ayither had said. While she did not give me the impression of being stupid, her usual need to keep moving had one feel that she was acting on impulse and not actually studying her situation before doing something. Her words let me know that she did stay aware of her situation, so made decisions based on some facts and not simply faith in her abilities. The words from Terish let it be known that he was impressed as well.

"Even I cannot tell that much. The magic of our floor actually blocks most of my senses. I would thus go back to town before chancing removing the floor. What is your appraisal of what is below?"

"I am storm."

There was strength even in the soft words. Terish reached for a rope and wrapped the bottom end around an arm while calling out my name. I assured him that I had things secured at the top of the shaft, and was ready to act. Terish then told Ayither to go ahead and do what she felt led to do. The strength stayed in her words, but this time there was volume.

"I AM STORM!"

From my point of view way above, the floor appeared to turn to dust. I lost sight of Ayither as she dropped down through the haze. Terish must have seen something, or simply had the barriers against his own senses removed, as he let go of the rope. I yelled to Straekin that we were going down, then I again checked the strength of the ropes before making my own descent before whatever had acted as the floor reset itself.

Going down I could hear Ayither and Terish battling something. From their statements I accepted that it was very large. Both were experienced against such opponents, but I still felt that an extra ally could cover for them should a maneuver not work as they intended. I reached the bottom seeing the floor forming back into place as if crystals of rock growing in some medium. I dropped from the rope and found myself breaking through the delicate pieces of magical rock and going down.

From what Ayither said, I knew about the drop. I however also heard her mention the flow of water. Having my focus with a water deity, I called for the liquid to move in a manner to soften my landing. I recovered from a strong splash to make a statement letting my friends know that I was all right.

"I am water!"

Ayither laughed. Terish simply gave me some directions. He luckily still had his arcane source of illumination active. I could fight in the dark, but appreciated being able to gain some view of what was actually around me. The creatures were large, although not at all what I suspected. They appeared as a type of insect with the torsos of a man coming out from where the heads would normally grow. Really could not get an impression of what insect was the lower section, but felt some relief seeing they were not spiders. I set upon one, then had it drop in pieces. Ayither instantly shouted out a question.

"Hallith, how did you kill it?"

"How do you think? I used my sword."

"HALLITH!"

I looked at her and Terish both surrounded by opponents, then moved toward the lady while wondering why they had not made a kill. I came upon those attempting to overwhelm Ayither, and swung to see another of the monsters go down. Not really knowing what I did different, I spoke what I considered the basic difference in where I struck to make my kills and they were directing their attacks.

"Attack the insect body."

Terish had amazing reflexes. He suddenly dropped low, then thrust with Deathguard to make an attack below the human torso. As the animal dropped, he jumped on it to attack the insect sections of those to the right and left of the first one. They dropped as well. Terish then yelled out what he had proven as true.

"Yes, Ayither, attack the insect body!"

By that time I had dropped another of those on the lady. She thus was no longer having to put all her energy into simply defending herself against multiple threats. Being already small, it did not take such a commitment to her attack to deliver a strike to the insect torso of one of the threats around her. She turned worried about the attack of another, but I could tell had gained some confidence seeing her actions now wounding her opponents. Of course, I kept up my own attacks with my large blade dropping more of those around the lady.

Finding herself no longer being threatened, she panted until able to say, "Thanks, Hallith."

I replied, "Trust me, I will look forward to helping you again."

"That really does not bother me, except that I really do not want to be in a situation where I need to be helped. Still, I am rather glad to have you as the one giving me attention."

From the distance came the voice of another lady saying, "Oh, young love. How sweet. You just killed most of my own beaus, but that will just enable me to give more attention to the few who remain."

Terish studied the cavern around us while loudly replying, "We did not come here to kill. If you would be so kind, we could simply speak with each other."

"Oh, you are trapped in here with me, and I honestly would simply much rather eat you while still strong and healthy instead of waiting for you to wither away."

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Chapter Eight   To Know Black and White - Part 2 (7-10B) Icon_minitimeMay 25th 2019, 7:21 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Eight

(Straekin)

The announcement of Hallith had the tone of something desperate happening. That did cause me concern, but I also knew the threats that my husband and Hallith had faced before. The Quartermasters did not simply travel around fighting whatever problems they encountered, but were sent to worlds where serious threats were active. For Hallith to mention a situation to be desperate, I felt that it had to be really serious.

I ran up to the hole to only see darkness. No sign of my husband or his two companions. With the hole being so deep, all I really saw was black. With a little concentration, I cast a spell to have the surface below illuminate hoping that the light from the rock and dirt would help me see what it might be revealing. Instead, I suddenly saw the darkness dissipate as the bottom of the hole turned to dust.

The sounds of my husband and his companions could now be heard. They were not screaming, but what I gained from what words reverberated from far below was that they were concerned about their situation. I felt that they would have noticed my actions, so waited for them to direct me in how to help them. The sounds from below indicated that they had their focus on the combat, although after a few moments the extended senses of my husband realized that I was listening.

"Hey, Straek, what spell did you cast?"

I yelled back, "An essence release spell of light!"

If I had been down there with him, I would have explained. Not knowing their predicament, I simply trusted Terish to make sense of what I said. As he was the one that taught me magic, I expected him to recognize my use of references. He would make the usual manly comments about not understanding women, but after over a century of knowing each other, and being married for a number of decades, he was getting rather good at comprehending my mind. I thus trusted that my intentions traveled down to where my husband was.

I saw a glow last for only a short period of time, then my husband commanded, "Stay up there, Straek! This place is dangerous, and we might need you to get us out."

I felt a need to state the obvious. "The ropes do not really drop down that far past the bottom of the hole."

"Ayither is wind, and I have my magic. We can get to the ropes, although we might need that hole opened back up."

While I felt certain he knew, I went ahead and said, "That really is not a hard spell, so I can keep casting it."

Instead of someone of my group, I heard a strange female voice say, "Your escape is mine as well. I might just take advantage of my chance at freedom."

I could not help but smile hearing my husband reply, "That is my wife I am speaking to. She is not someone to challenge. She gained control of her world, then gained control of me. Trust me, she can deal with you until I finish you."

"If you could finish me then I would not be here. This was the only option the people had."

I saw a strange glow that I recognized as a release of magical energy from my husband, then I heard, "I am storm!"

The sounds and momentary radiances let me know that those below were still in combat. I did want to watch, but understood my importance in providing an escape should it be needed. All three below were extremely dangerous, so really did not need my involvement. Suddenly hearing an odd howling scream, I knew that those I cared for were again winning their conflict.

As I heard Ayither again yell, "I am storm!" the voice of my husband screamed, "NO! HALLITH!"

The large man responded, "Ayither! Come on!"

She exclaimed her philosophy, "WE ARE WINNING!"

"You told me to bring you to calm! Well, deal with it. We came to learn, not to kill. We thus go back and see if we can make sense of this."

"Terish, is that true?"

My husband answered, "Yes, Ayither. We proved ourselves more than capable to face this threat, so hopefully when we return we can gain something more than just a corpse."

"That's not calm, but I actually understand that. Hallith, do you trust me?"

When he assured her that he did, I heard Ayither yell out the name of her god. Suddenly, I saw the large form of Hallith rushing to the hole. I was worried for a moment that he would miss grabbing a rope, but his fingers on one hand latched onto a minor projection in the rocky wall of the hole giving him a moment or two to have his other hand secure a grip on a length of fiber. With his position stable, he reached back to help my husband. As Terish assured his climb up, Hallith told Ayither to hold onto him as he began pulling the two of them out of the hole.

I watched as my husband worked to assure that the hole had sealed. He kept his focus as Hallith and Ayither came back to the surface with me being ready to supply any needed help. As we stood around and watched Terish assure no problems would be left behind us, I believe everyone considered what they had faced.

When my husband finally broke his gaze upon the hole, Ayither said, "The only reason not to kill it would be because you do not think it is evil."

Terish replied, "The prayer definitely supports that belief, although there was also a reason to seal that creature away. The time since first being captured could have also corrupted whatever that thing was. One thing to learn about me, Ayither, is that I am seeking knowledge and not threats."

"I understand wanting to make good decisions. Slidell would lecture me about that, and Typhorsh always told me to listen to her. I am thus not surprised that he is telling me to work with you."

"Glad to have the support."

I knew the routine of my husband. He would spend time studying his notes, possibly using his knowledge of interdimensional truths to enable him to access his personal library for other sources of information. I had started cooking a large portion of the meat from the great cat earlier, and checked on it while Hallith worked to assure the horses were in good condition. Ayither helped me, checked things with Hallith, and did basic chores about the camp assuring we could continue without any problems. I was actually surprised she did the minor tasks. While most with too much energy, like children, would seek to play or waste their time with useless activities, I appreciated seeing Ayither with the control to put her storm to good use. As if comfortable with what my husband and us ladies were doing, Hallith took a position of watching out for threats that might disrupt our routines.

As we ate, Terish used an excuse to refill his wine glass to move next to Hallith and whisper, "I have no choice. We need to go spend time with the locals. Whatever references I need to make sense of this surely are local."

"That is fine with me, Terish. I told Ayither that you were calm."

"Calm? This could get boring."

Ayither laughed. She then began telling stories of herself dealing with others of calm. Most of them involved a lady named Slidell, but she spoke other names to Hallith either as he possibly knew them or things about them. I had already gained an impression of liking Ayither, but the tales she told of herself and those she had dealt with had me glad for Hallith in finding such a lady. As I laughed at a series of escapades, I suddenly thought of things that had been stated as a concern for her.

I said, "Ayither, it seems that you have dealt with calm periods before."

"Yes," she replied, "but I was not the one being calm."

My husband tried to offer the solution, "Oh, there is no reason to be calm. What you have to watch out for is being hasty. Be considering your possible actions to what others say, but let them finish speaking so you are not acting foolish. It does not help my attitude at all to rush after gaining some information to only appear foolish while learning that I did not gain all the necessary information."

"Yes, but I usually could do other things while those calm waited for the information."

"Well, let me challenge you to hang out with me tomorrow while we research this mystery. I think you might be rather entertained in the manner that I stay calm."

"I am sometimes entertained by those calm."

I tried to help the lady understand. "Ayither, I enjoy spending time with my husband. He can be boring when he is doing nothing more but reading, but even then I have spent time with him sometimes enjoying the comments he mumbles to me. When he is speaking to people, he can be humorous, aggressive, and even frustrated."

My husband interjected, "Straekin can help me in dealing with those latter two situations."

"Yes, as if he wipes out the entire city then all that is left for him to do is sit around and read."

Ayither asked, "And what will you do, Hallith?"

He answered, "Well, if you are spending time with Terish then I will probably escort Straekin."

I had to admit, "I have not spent that much time with you, Hallith. I thus look forward to your company."

Ayither looked at me, then at Hallith, before asking, "You have not spent much time with Hallith?"

"The Quartermasters were Terish's friends. I really did not like it when he spent time with them, as Pesloe would command Terish's time."

That set off a period of filling in Ayither about things of Terish and me and our history with the Quartermasters. With my husband having met the group of interdimensional heroes over a decade before meeting me, there was a lot of things we had to speak about. Ayither often looked to Hallith for verification of things we said, but usually gained little more than a nod from him. She however considered it enough and would say something to keep the conversation going.

After Ayither went off to prepare for bed, Hallith said, "I need conversations like that. You might be surprised how much those centuries of going from fight to fight are just a blur in my mind."

I said, "You need to be able to talk about those events with Ayither. I know that Cornispe works to get Pesloe to talk about them. Chertish has people who are sifting his mind to create a series of volumes about the actions of the Quartermasters. Anerth is being forced to keep a journal to record the present actions of what he does." Thinking back on what Hallith had been doing since leaving the Quartermasters, I asked, "You did not talk about those centuries with Kierle?"

"No. King Dellarkin usually had me busy with something. I would only have small amounts of time to spend with Kierle and the children letting them know what I would be doing. I didn't want them to think that I was just leaving them. I wanted them to know where I planned on being and what I was doing when not with them."

"That was good, Hallith, but a wife will need more from you. You will need to make her a part of your life, and that includes your history."

"I don't have a problem with that. I mean, those centuries with the Quartermasters are years to be proud of. We defeated some really horrible threats. We helped people. It's not like I don't want to speak about those times, but we really did not have time to separate one fight from another. It was centuries of just going from extreme situation to extreme situation. Everything is just a jumble in my head."

Terish said, "Ayither, or whoever your eventual wife is, will need to listen to your thoughts, Hallith. Make sure of that. Make certain that Ayither will listen to you ramble on."

From behind the large man came the voice of the lady, "I will make comments, but I will listen." After the two traded a sign of affection, she then asked, "Who is keeping watch?"

My husband said, "Let me take the first one. The hole should be secure, but I am going to spend time checking things about it. I will then wake up one of you – probably you, Hallith."

He replied, "Fine. I am going to prepare for bed."

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Nine   To Know Black and White - Part 2 (7-10B) Icon_minitimeMay 30th 2019, 6:47 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Nine

(Dalinth)

I saw movement up ahead. I had not stopped, but did once I realized what I was seeing. Just wanting to assure things with Retarund, I spoke of what I saw.

"Big lady."

"By Bamander!"

That exclamation bothered me, because I had said Bamander was the deity I felt the closest to. For Retarund to suddenly claim her I felt was improper. Being white, I knew that he would speak of promoting the ways of all the deities, but I still took offense that he would invoke the deity I considered myself the closest to.

I looked again at the large lady, then realized what had bothered Retarund. Her hair was not white, but cream colored. Her eyes were brown, which definitely placed the lady as not being white. Her body was larger than normal, but instead of appearing bulkier due to muscle or big bones it had the normal slim lines of a typical damsel. It did bother me to see a centaur, although to find her attired in a reddish dress I felt put her in a category as being more than unusual.

As Retarund dropped from his mount to begin a wailing prayer to Bamander, I advanced to say, "I am Dalinth, a champion of black. I am assuming that you are the help I was to receive."

Approaching, the centaur replied, "I am Menasha, but I doubt that I can be of help. The one who rides me however probably is."

A man walked forward saying, "I am the one she refers to. My name is Terish Dozzrine."

He did not look old at all. Light-brown hair and soft-brown eyes. His outfit was yellow covered by ornately stitched tan leather pieces. I had no idea how this youth could help me, but if he rode a centaur I had to accept that he had some experience that I did not.

Not knowing what else to do, I said, "There is a hole around here that is most perplexing. I was told that I would have help in resolving it."

"Yes, well, I have been down in the hole and fought some strange creatures, then met another. I could use some help myself in deciding what I should really do."

"What?" Those words perplexed me for a moment, then I realized that he was possibly speaking of more than I could. "There is a seal of black at the bottom of the hole, although this champion of white is with me because it draws white."

"Yes, well, that seal stymied me, but I have others helping me. Come on, Dalinth, let us discuss this hole. Who is your praying friend?"

"Retarund. Champions of white can be most bothersome, it seems even to the gods." Seeing the head of Retarund turn to glare at me, I ordered, "Come on, let us go see what we can decide."

When I was told that I would get help, I did not expect such a diverse group. I found myself feeling a need to apologize to Frowick for my attitude about not finding my help upon my first approach to the hole, as the amount and potential quality of those that showed up impressed me. Some venerable bard was actually what I expected. Everyone I met had the appearance of youths, although I quickly learned had experience far beyond my years. I humbly took a place by the fire realizing that I was with those who could help.

I had only heard fantasy stories of Terish Dozzrine, so did not consider the man to be real even though he matched what facts I knew while acting as the leader of the group. His attractive wife had the dignity to gracefully handle those around her, although would look to her husband when a decision needed to be made. A very cute young lady kept circuiting our group, but a rather large man also came to the fire. When he was introduced, I had to admit of hearing of him.

"The Quartermasters? I have heard about them. They came through almost two hundred years ago. The gods had really made a mistake –"

Retarund finally had to speak, which he did in the usual white style of making a bold simplification. "The gods do not make mistakes!"

I simply commented, "We black are very appreciative of what the Quartermasters did."

Terish asked, I had to accept because he did not know, "Can your gods make mistakes?"

I kicked Retarund, which had him glare at me while checking his leg allowing me to answer the question. "The gods have their reasons, and their vision is far more loftier than ours. They however look at the big picture, and small groups, if not just individuals, can be hurt by their actions. In the case of the need for the Quartermasters, even more than a large group was disrupted by the actions of the gods."

Hallith said, "Oh, yes, white and black. There was no monster or eruption of a vile essence, but a matter of politics. It seemed that a couple of monarchs were corralling and selling people like cattle."

"Yes. The actual command of the gods was to clear the area, but many people did not want to go. Wanting to make examples of some while gaining some reparations for the expense of the operation, the monarchs abused their authority. We black did what we could, but the Quartermasters were able to take on the armies and remove the strong arm of the nobility."

"Pesloe and I were hoping for a change of heart in the leaders, but it did not happen. The armies moved to protect another corralling of people, and Anerth ordered us to attack." Hallith looked to Retarund as he added, "I remember those of white fighting with us."

Retarund replied, "Well, if we did, we did not speak of it afterward. Not that we have to. It is black that needs to brag on their successes."

I said, "And it was to black that this mission was given. I will proudly brag on this success as well. While our friends here were said to be my help, I have to concede they have done more than me. Thus, what were you planning?"

Straekin answered, "Going to bed. It is late. I see white active in the night, so assume that black will be active during the day."

"Day and night are meaningless. We are both active when we need to be, as the gods themselves do not sleep."

"Well, down in that hole day and night are meaningless as well. Still, no reason to have our own rhythms disturbed. Also, what we found confused us, so we were planning to go back down to the village and ask some questions."

Retarund asked, "What do you need to know?"

I however quickly returned, "Let me take you to the hole, Retarund. We can then have our own conversation. Either we can come back deciding that we can give answers, or we might want to join them in seeking answers."

"Sounds good to me.” He turned his eyes to the others to announce, “We are going to check out the hole."

Hallith said, "The ropes are still there. I however am going back to bed."

I actually expected them to join us, but Retarund and I were alone as we advanced to the hole. Indeed there were a couple of long silk ropes descending to the bottom. I lit a torch and dropped it to show Retarund the depth, but he turned his eyes to look back to the light of the campfire.

"A centaur, and Hallith of the Quartermasters? What sorcery is this?"

While I considered those in the camp to be unbelievable as well, I felt the challenge was worthy of such individuals. "Go on down, and you tell me about what you see."

He knelt to grab a rope, then said, "I trust you, Dalinth."

"No reason not to, as we have not even begun to argue yet."

Retarund did not laugh, but only nodded before descending. Soon enough I saw him bend over to pick up the torch, although then began screaming. He grabbed the rope yelling for me to pull him up. Retarund did not continue to make loud sounds, but looked at me as he again climbed up the hole.

"You did not feel pain?"

"I felt that if I was white I could overcome the barrier. You should have attacked it."

"Attacked it? There was no way I could do that and survive. You said yourself that if I lost the white there would be nothing left of me."

I really had not meant to scare Retarund with my words, and to get him thinking I spoke a hypothesis. "Maybe what is below is what you would be if you lost your white."

"White is a philosophy just as black is a philosophy. I uphold the dictates of the gods while you challenge them. That is the only difference between us. You cannot rip a philosophy from a person."

"Then you explain what you felt."

I saw him move back to the edge of the hole to look down before asking, "Who could explain it?"

I used my thumb to indicate a direction as I answered, "Those at the camp might. I believe they are the ones who were to help me."

He did look to the camp, but then set his eyes on me as he declared, "Dalinth, there is no challenging the gods here. There is nothing black here. If it is white... If it is white then it must be trying to uphold the ways of the gods. We should leave it alone."

"I am sorry to say that you are wrong, as I was sent here by a god. Frowick had one of his priests set this mission upon me. If you must leave, Retarund, even to speak to authorities about what is being done here, I understand. I just want you to know that I am not your enemy. I was willing to listen to your advice. If all you have to say is the usual platitudes, go away and leave me to my work."

"This is protected, Dalinth! That seal is white. It is a clear statement that the gods do not want anyone to pass."

I pointed to camp while saying, "They passed. They fought things below. They however were also mystified, so came back up seeking answers. I thus do not have to challenge anything. I can join them, and learn with them."

"Yes, I guess. You're right. The gods must be honored. I will thus stay with you to assure that the gods are honored."

I had to admit, "I do not know who I would be helping. Thus, my actions at present are pointless. However, it was a priest of Frowick that sent me here, and I will state my own devotion to the deities by continuing. At the moment, Retarund, I agree with you, except that I feel there is a reason I was sent. Please, stay with me."

"Yes. A full report must be made. To assure a proper account of this, I will stay."

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Ten - Part One   To Know Black and White - Part 2 (7-10B) Icon_minitimeJune 4th 2019, 6:47 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Ten – Part One

(Straekin)

Hallith was usually a light sleeper. I thus suspected that the reason he did not get up this time was that he had just laid down. His mind was dropping into the comfort of unconsciousness, so stayed nonreactive in a desire to enjoy the rest. Ayither however had not yet settled to gain some sleep, so she responded to the loud voices from the two native champions. I was simply doing my usual thing of staying with my husband, so I got up when he did.

Suddenly Terish disappeared on me. I had turned to dust some dirt off my clothes, so I did not consider the act to have been magic. I saw the confident stride of Ayither suddenly turn as the soft voice of Terish came from behind her.

"Hey, Storm, you know about sneaking?"

She replied, "I mean them no harm, and I do not sense that they mean us harm."

"Okay, you have me there, but still there are things that they have not told us. My problem is that I do not know this world, so a lot of things they probably do not feel a need to explain I need to hear. I am sneaking to simply get a handle on how they think."

"Is that how you learned about women?"

I thought that question a little odd. Her situation in being with Hallith I however accepted as where her mind was at. I also thought that the reply from my husband was a very good one.

"I did not have to; the women were sneaking up on me. Straekin was the one who sought a relationship with me. Now, drop down and follow me."

I also carefully moved up. My husband was one who would consider murder as an acceptable option. Even in the early days he however worked to temper that part of his personality. When I first learned of Terish, the reports spoke of him as a hero and not a mass murderer. There were reports of the armies he had slaughtered, something my opponents tried to emphasize in the media, but my own political machine easily countered the negative publicity by proclaiming the evil that was stopped. Since all on my world were veterans of a horrible war, I was not surprised when they forgave Terish for doing things they themselves would have done, had done, or simply thought about doing. As I came to know more of the man, I fully came to understand that he did not seek to kill, although often found himself with no other option. I thus carefully moved up expecting to again find Terish attempting to do good.

The exchange between the champions of white and black I felt did them honor. Not only did the two show a friendship between them, but gave me some understanding of the philosophies they operated by. Neither one presented themselves as evil, which was probably why my husband did not stop Ayither from rising from her position and confronting the champions of this world.

Both men went silent as she advanced, and after looking down she said, "I can have you pass."

The champion of white asked, "And how can you do that?"

"I am storm. Look. There is no water, no detritus, nothing down there except the bottom of this hole. Everything else passes, so why don't you? The wind passes, and I am wind."

The champion of black did not necessarily speak to the lady as he asked, "Is that what they hoped? Did those that make this expect for whatever is below to be buried?"

"There is a water below. Hallith is water. The water washes away the filth that falls. It might be accumulating further in the cavern. We did not advance."

"Thank you, Ayither. I agree with you, I mean your group, as I would like information as well. I however can assure you that no one would be able to tell you anything. I was not told anything. I was only told that I would have help. That means your group. At the moment I am including Retarund as well. We are it as far as information, so I will want to go into the cave come morning."

Having been with my husband for decades, I knew that he would prefer staying hidden. I thus rose and started my own advance to the men. It did not bother me if they thought poorly of me for hiding, as I knew my husband would protect me if things went bad.

I said, "It would help if we had some plan. Come back to the camp and speak to us."

Instead of replying to me, the champion of white looked to Ayither and asked, "How does your gift work? What is it with your connection to wind?"

She answered, "I have committed myself to the god Typhorsh who is the ruler of strong wind. As his champion, I gain his graciousness."

"We don't have a god named Typhorsh."

"Then your world is severely lacking."

"Listen. Say I believe you. Why would you have any power here? Our gods surely would have authority."

It appeared to me as if Ayither simply glared at Retarund, but she then spoke as if only stopping to listen to another. "Typhorsh says that your gods recognize that we are here to help. Stand down, champion of white, as you do not truly worship any of the gods."

Dalinth commented, "She has you there."

Retarund did spin to show an annoyed expression toward the champion of black, but then turned back to Ayither. "Listen, all the gods are important, and we must abide by the laws of them all. I assume that you obey the laws of your god."

Ayither asked, "What laws? Can you challenge the wind? Can you make the trees lose their leaves? Can you then stop the leaves from moving? There are no laws to the wind that you can challenge. What Typhorsh tells me to do, I do, just as anything who finds itself in the power of a wind."

"But there has to be right and wrong." As if really trying to make a point, Retarund asked, "Can you just murder people? Could you just kill me?"

"Could I? Yes."

"But you don't, or haven't, and why not? Could it be because Typhorsh really is not a killer? Would he not reprimand you for killing? Could I then not conclude that he has a law against killing?"

"No. He has no law. No. He is not a killer, but there is no law. Strong winds can cause death. I could kill you, but like my god I am not a killer. If I did kill you, I would either have a reason or Typhorsh would have told me to."

Dalinth again spoke a comment. "I like her."

This time Retarund spun to actually speak to the champion of black. "You do not worship a particular god either."

"No, but I am here on behalf of Frowick. I will consider the gods to assure that I understand the deeds I am about to do. You just go about being an asshole."

"I know all their laws! I study all their texts. I read all their histories. I know what I am talking about."

"Then tell us about this place."

"DAMN!" Retarund spun around, and for a moment I felt he would jump into the hole, then he spun again to point toward camp. "What is this! Champions to gods that are not of our world, a centaur, this is not right!" He again spun to face Dalinth, although pointed with his hand toward the hole while saying, "This is not right! It does not belong."

The champion of black asked, "So, are you going to help, or just be an asshole?"

"This is not beneath the notice of the gods, and it does not fall outside of their laws. I will stay, but only to assure that the gods and their ways are maintained. That is my reason for existing. I am white."

"Listen, Retarund, we do not need an asshole. We truthfully could probably use your advice. I am black, but I have no cause here. I was not called by someone feeling injustice, but sent by a priest of Frowick. As much as you might not believe it, I am here due to a god. Thus, the injustice being done is probably a divine one. To assure that things are corrected, the help – not lectures, but help – from a champion of white could be useful."

The champion of white spun to direct his next question to Ayither. "Did your god send you here?"

I answered that question. "No. She and Hallith came because they are our friends. My husband and Hallith were friends before I met him, and that was over a century ago. Our friendship is thus very strong. As for Ayither, Hallith brought her because he wanted to introduce her to us."

"Over a century ago? How old are you?"

Ayither answered, "Older than me."

Exasperation declared itself in Retarund's voice as he asked, "And how old are you?"

I interrupted to give my own answer. "I am over seven hundred, although let me say that you are not supposed to ask a woman her age."

Dalinth said, "She has you there."

Retarund shot back, "That is not a divine rule." Things went silent for a moment, then he asked, "How did you get to be over seven hundred years old?"

I answered, "Science in my case, although I have since had the blessings of Gods. All the others in my party only have gods to bless for their immortality, or simply youth in the case of Menasha."

Dalinth patted the champion of white on a shoulder while saying, "I believe you are in over your head, Retarund."

The champion of white asked, "How about you?"

"I have help, and I will gratefully accept it. If it makes you feel better, I will then return to the temple of Frowick that sent me and thank him for the experience."

We began moving back to camp. Along the way my husband stood in a prominent location. I wondered what was about to happen as the champion of white moved to him.

"Your wife is over seven hundred years old."

I saw Terish smile as he replied, "Really? Huh. Honestly, I never asked her that question."

It was obvious that I was not the only one that heard, as both Ayither and Dalinth began laughing. I expected the embarrassment to keep Retarund silent. He however stopped, then I heard him confront my husband.

"Hallith brought Ayither to introduce her to you and Straekin. Okay, but why are you here?"

Terish replied, "Now you are asking a useful question. Do you really want the answer?"

"Of course."

"Then go take a seat by the fire and get comfortable, as this will take a while."

_________________
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PostSubject: Chapter Ten - Part Two   To Know Black and White - Part 2 (7-10B) Icon_minitimeJune 9th 2019, 6:40 am

To Know Black and White
Chapter Ten – Part Two

(Straekin)

The eyes of my husband kept darting to Ayither. She was cute, but Terish had never been one to be susceptible to the favors of the opposite sex. Ferrigote would often take ladies, but Terish usually just sat and read books. Having had to have rescued his companion a few times had Terish feel women were something to be worried about. It took time for him to accept me. My knowledge of my husband caused me not to get jealous of Ayither, but to understand that her movements bothered him.

She did not go to bed. Even though the conversation between Terish and the two champions of this world got rather deep, Ayither continued to listen. She did not stay still, but her movements kept her where she could hear what the men were saying.

The two champions also listened, with Retarund finally concluding, "So you are saying that there is a source of some type of energy down there."

Terish replied, "Yes, and it has either bred the monsters we faced, or possibly only affected the growth of those things. I would think the latter, but the other monsters we faced were clearly of black."

"What?"

Dalinth asked, "What do you mean monster of black?"

Ayither answered, "It was like a bat. Big, black, and not affected by usual attacks. However, my power of air and Hallith's over water easily broke them." She then looked to Terish to say, "Like my ability to open the seal. I think the monster was of this creation."

Terish replied, "If that is true, it is possibly why the gods here are taking action now. Although I usually do not arrive at such moments. I am usually dealing with an evil that has long secured its base of power, or having to secure the true defeat of something that is just beginning to gain in strength."

The white and black champions had us speak more of the monsters. Between Terish and Ayither they got a good description of the bat-like monsters and those beneath the hole. Neither seemed pleased with the information, with the champion of white almost sounding like he was accusing the champion of black.

"Dalinth, you knew of this?"

The Champion of Black replied, "No, but I did keep saying Frowick – Frowick, Frowick, Frowick."

Ayither said, "That he did. Who is Frowick?"

"The god of disease. It is not just sickness, as all life has to gain things from others."

Retarund said, "There is a lot of good in Frowick. His laws are rather sensible." He glared at Dalinth while adding, "It thus always bothers me when someone decides to bypass them or even break them."

"You say that about all the laws of all the gods. Still, I must point out that things are not right here. I can easily accept that what needs to be done is to set things back to right."

"I can provide guidance there, but I will probably need to be at my best. I am going to bed."

Dalinth said while mostly looking at Ayither, "Listen, I am glad that all of you are here. It is rare that I can work with others, especially a champion of white. Still, Retarund is a good man. He came to bring me food, so don't think bad about him. We need to get this resolved, and I can accept that it might take all our perspectives to see the correct solution. Thank you. Now, if you don't mind, I am going to get some sleep as well."

Ayither declared, "You do not speak with your gods."

I saw Retarund turn from where he was getting his things as Dalinth replied, "Uh, no. Their laws are pretty well known. That means that those of white have a strong foundation for their work, and I can usually understand how things have fallen through cracks. Generally, our priests are to guide the common citizens. Those of us that serve as champions have proven ourselves to understand our calling."

"What you say and do however cannot be said to be according to what your gods would want."

I had to say, "But, Ayither, our gods are not of this world."

Dalinth declared, "But why does it matter? There is a problem here. Solving it is important. I don't see how what we do, assuming it does solve the problem, will be against our gods."

From the distance came the voice of Retarund, "Spoken like a true champion of black. Of course what you see as a solution might be wrong. That is why I am staying."

Terish said, "We are not here to work against any deities."

Dalinth replied, "I seriously was sent by one of our gods. My reason for being here is to help a god. My solution should thus work in accordance with the ways of our gods."

Ayither stated, "No, only one."

Both champions went quiet. I saw them glance at each other as if hoping the other would speak. Finally, Ayither broke the silence.

"Think on that while you sleep."

Dalinth replied, "Yes, yes, Ayither, we will."

She held her position while the men started their preparations to lie down, then looked to my husband to say, "I am going to get some sleep as well. Wake me if you need someone to take over the watch."

Terish replied, "Considering that he has been sleeping, I will probably wake Hallith."

"That is good."

Ayither turned as if to go to her bedroll, but stopped as my husband said, "I thank you for hanging around. Your comments were good ones."

"Typhorsh told me to. Strangely, he is interested. I'm not doing this because I am calm, but only because I need to know what is to be expected." She paused, but only for a moment before adding, "It does sound interesting. I mean, I know what we fought. I however just went through many days of fighting with the Quartermasters. This seems to be something more than just another fight. I might like this."

"It took a lot of boring study to get to this point."

"I heard. I however don't think Hallith does things like that."

I said, "No, but he does enjoy just traveling. He has a water god, so will simply go along a waterway enjoying the scenery."

"Yes, I know that he likes water. I like air. I think it might be fun just traveling with him."

"Well, good night, Ayither."

After my husband wished her a restful sleep, then watched her move off, he said to me, "What do you think?"

"About Ayither? I like her. The gods of Hallith's world have chosen well for him. As for where we are, I don't believe even you know how dangerous this hole is."

"About Ayither, yes, I like her as well. We all told Hallith that he needed someone that could completely share his life, and I believe Ayither could be that lady. As for this, it highly worries me. It's not evil, at least not as I am used to. I however feel that I have the best group of people working with us, so I'm staying to solve this one."

"Says the guy that is known for going back for the treasure."

Yes, that statement did get my husband to smile, although his response was rather dryly stated. "I doubt there is any treasure here, Straek. Back then I knew what I was fighting. Gote and I had already battled those monsters for hours, so I felt I knew all their tricks. Even after fighting this thing, I have no idea about what could be waiting for us. Nope, if I did not have all these divine champions with me, I would probably go away waiting for more information." He then added, "I am going to be updating my journal and seeing if I can cross-reference any of the facts I now have. You staying with me or going to bed?"

"Both."

I shared a kiss with my husband. I noticed some twitching, but felt a need to assure the sign of affection with him. Once I broke from him, I did turn to see what bothered my husband, and saw the champion of white.

Retarund asked, "Excuse me, but, you two are married?"

I answered, "Yes. Married, had kids, and now thinking about having kids again."

He pointed elsewhere while asking, "And those two are not?"

Hallith and Ayither had not bedded down in the same place, so I considered my answer obvious. "No. I don't believe they have known each other for that long."

"Nothing improper, but just checking." He seemed embarrassed to add, "I'm white."

Terish asked, "What if we weren't? Would you zap us with lightning, take us before the authorities, or what?"

"Probably lecture you to get you to go ahead and get married. I am a divine agent, so I can perform the rite."

"Do you actually have any divine sanction for delivering punishment? What if I had Straek under some compulsion to obey me? Would you be able to stop me?"

"Uh, well, I am the one that works with the laws. I can thus summon the authorities."

Suddenly I became troubled by what was being said, so asked, "Didn't you even hear what we were talking about? There is something dangerous down in that hole. We, well, my husband and those two divine champions fought it. I however was in the fight with those bat-like things. Are you saying that you never really fought anything?"

"I work with the authorities. I have to confront some sinners, but nothing that I could not handle."

"You better start praying."

Terish said, "Now, Straek, you need to remember that you are not the only lady in my life. Retarund, when you get up in the morning, you need to talk to that centaur."

The champion of white said, "Oh, yes, I did mean to ask about her."

"Well, ask her yourself. Her name is Menasha, and she will be more than glad to speak with you. Her calling is not exactly divine, but she would not still be so young if not for the blessing of her deity. You really, really need to talk to her."

After Retarund had apologized and walked away, I said, "Terish, I don't think you have as much support as you thought."

"I'm as powerful as I am due to what I know, Straek, and he is a source of more information. I should be all right. This however will be something different. Plus, I believe Hallith and Ayither can handle any fight."

I moved to kiss my husband again while saying, "Yes, I have to grant you that one." I did kiss him again, then said, "Well, let me go prepare myself for the night. Be back shortly."

_________________
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
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