Thursday, May 22, 2008

Internet Disconnection Cop-Out: A Story (Kinda!)

Hey there everybody! Well, finals are over, and I couldn't be happier! This semester did no favors for my GPA, and the sooner I can forget about a couple of the classes (literally, two of them), the better.

But there's no time for rest! Summer's here! Huzzah! I start my one summer class next Tuesday. Pretty quick, but I'm thinking it'll be a fairly fun class, so we're all good. I also get to "start" summer staff work. I use quotation marks because I've actually been doing summer staff work for three weeks now. The beginning of summer is actually when my summer staff work slows down, paradoxically.

One side effect of this is that I'll have no internet for a while. They disconnect us tonight, and I honestly have no idea when I'll be back online.

"But Andrew! What about updates to The Lobotomist's Dream and Elderly Apple?"

Now don't you worry! Thanks to a knew "scheduling" feature on Blogger, the next four days of Elderly Apple are scheduled to update at 12:34am sharp (ironically, I'm more on time when I'm not around), so no problems there.

As for TLD, I thought I'd pull out yet another trick from my bag of cop-outs. And this one should last you a couple of days!

A few years back, I was involved (along with a few others) in an online Role-Playing forum based on the online game Nationstates. We were all in a region (of my own making) called "The Sanctum of Insanity." The region had it's own forum, which garnered up 90 separate threads and an absolutely ridiculous 15,700 posts within the course of about 20 months. And this was with less than 8 active members! Sadly, the Sanctum eventually died, due to simple activity. But the forums are still there, and I go back just to take a look every now and then.

I'll have more to say about this all some other time. For now, I'd like to focus on one small part. Very intermittently, from February to June 2006, several members participated in a mini-Role Playing story. We all created new characters, only existing within the realm of this little story. And we each wrote parts. It had the potential to be something great, but like the rest of the Sanctum, it died with a whimper.

I thought I'd give it another chance at life.

So, here's the story in its entirety. NOTE: This is not all my work. In fact, four separate people contributed to this; hence all the different writing styles, tenses, etc. A little disjointed and containing many grammatical errors, yes, but I think you may enjoy it. I won't tell you which segments were mine. I honestly don't think it will be difficult for you to tell, but try to guess anyway. Also, somewhere in the story is one of my favorite lines ever. Try to guess what that is, too.

Okay, enough preamble! Enjoy the story, and I'll see you later, 100 feet west and 30 feet higher than I am now!


She sat on her bed with her legs held in front of her, listening as the skys cryied. Everyone was crying lately. She hated it!

Leaping between the curtians of her bed she burst in to her dark room, only to stop cold. She could feel it's presence. Was it that time again? She could only hope it wasn't. That it was just the shock of the cold lifeless floor beneath her feet, something else she couldn't stand. Why did folks have to live in this horrible dead things she would never understand.

She tried the door as she did ever night.


Laughter is hear from the otherside, you think they'd give up. Then she feels the presence again and knows they'll be sorry if they get what they want. It's stronger this time, she starts to shake.


Her arms cross her cheast as the shaking starts to stop and she begins to breath again. In and out, in and out. Slowly she can see out her eyes again and looking behind the bars on her window she smiles and watches the sun start to peek among the clouds that just won't leave.

Throwing her hands up in the air she shrugs off their lastest lucky break and moves to start her day.

In the wardrobe they provided her she finds as always one outfit that would make her look ordinary, but unlucky for them her nails are ever sharp. After a few special slices and cuts it's perfect. Looking in the mirror she inspects her appearance.

Her long hair is dark and has adopted green highlights to match the forest green velvet creation she now wears. A quick stroke of her paws and her ears smooth out. She could really use a batange but her captors wouldn't know where to get one much less what it is. Shaking her head she smiles at least her eyes are still green, she can still control it. Flicking her tail out from the new slit she'd but in the skirt she opens her mouth to inspect her fangs. Yep their still there. That's good sometimes she wonders if this captivity will make her become like them, such boring beings they be. With a nod of her head she turns and knocks on her door, it opens and the same boring people are there.

Will you ever just let me go, you'll never get what you want?

But like every day before since she'd been put in this room, they say nothing. She didn't even bother to give them nicknames, but she looked longingly out the door as the three "watchers" entered and started to try and probe her mind.

*Yawn*You know you can't read our minds, why do you keep trying.

Rolling her eyes, she decides that today is one of THOSE days, and so she locks her eyes with the one infront of her. Once inside his mind, it's getting easier, she slowly starts to rip different things apart...


She rubs her head, where she was just bonked by the heathen on her right. Although silently she enjoys the fact that the mental one is on the floor. Ha! Teach them, though it's a losing battle for in a few minutes they will just bring a lesser trained one. You'd think after she did that to the first one and then their "master" they'd try something new.

As they open the door to leave, she sees a stranger pass and when its black eyes meet hers.... She knows that she is in trouble. Too stunned to do anything she just stands their staring at the door and praying it wasn't what she thought it was.


They came from across the ocean, well more specifically they came from the ocean. Atleast that is what the council said. All who were captured by them never came back. Those who we captured only escaped leaving behind them many who were mad and unconsolable. She was the only one in her tribe who had not followed these two norms, but that didn't mean she didn't still fear the yatagani.

They were why she was now plagued with episodes where the presence would get free. Ones like her were only born every three hundred years. She was a sign of change, but before no other minds were able to attack us. The yatagani changed that. They spoke no heard language. Their skin was scaled and they made the tallest of her kind look short. Translated into her captors tounge they were "snake people".

All she knew though was if he was put to her mind...again she would be held in the darkness while it roamed free.


Hundreds of miles away, Karakaj waited in the shadows. He watched official after official leave the large granetine building. So much profit in those alone, he thought, but decided to let the thought go. He had an meeting that he couldn't afford to miss. Finally, he saw his cue: a tall, bald man carrying a small chest stepped outside and bolted the door shut. When he walked away into the mist, Karakaj leapt over a dozen feet onto the ledge of the building. As he was told, there was an opened windows. His lean body slinked in, and inside, he saw a portly gentleman sitting nervously at a desk. Upon noticing him, the gentleman stood up.

"You're the memory thief?"

Karakaj let out a yellowed smile as a lock of his greasy hair fell upon his face. "Of course," he said in a rusty voice, "And I assume your Enn Sylvanis?"

"Yes, I...we must be careful; I'm not supposed to be here this late at night. If they find out, it'll be-"

"None of my concern. I'm here because friend said you had work for me."

"Yes, Balatin, yes. He said you were the best. He said I could trust you."

"He should have also told you that I despise flattery. I'm here for one purpose only. Now, whose memories do you need?" Karakaj asked as he allowed the moonlight shining in through the window to reflect off of his stilletto.

"Yes, of course. His name is Ambassador Sarquatus. Do you know of him?"


The stocky man became increasingly agitated. "He's fairly active around town. He should be easy to spot. He says he is trying to promote peace. However, I am almost completely certain he knows something about a recent abduction."

"Lose someone, did you?" Karakaj asked wryly.

"It's more than that. She...I've said too much already. Simply trust me - it's important. Now, answer me this: will you be able to get his memories?"

Karakaj's smile faded as he said, "Don't try my patience. Now, about my payment. You already know the labor costs. I want you to add an additional 10% to that, to cover for the poisons."

Sylvanis's face grew ghastly and pale. "Poisons?" he choked out, "You're going to kill him? You won't be able to get the information that way!"

Karakaj's discolored smile returned as he headed for the window. "You'd be surprised," he said confidently, "Good night, Senator Sylvanis." And with that, he slipped out the window and ran into the fog and out of sight.


All day and night she waited and rocked on her heels. No one came, they didn't even give her what they though was food. Yuck ! Proper food should never have so many vegetables. When ever thoughts of food came about pictures of those who held her on the fire all ways made her smile and her tummy ache more. How she missed her tribe.

I hate being by myself all the time, no one to play with and I can only destroy this room so much. These walking meals with their funny magic, what good is destroying that which only turns around and is righted again once I leave it alone.

She moves around the room, hoping on top of the wardrobe, balancing on top the mirror, and trying futilly to shake the bars that hold her there. Howling in frustation she falls to the floor.

At least they couldn't hear my ranting to myself.

hmmmm, I can my dear. Did you miss us? We've been looking for you, and it seems you got your self caught again.


Meanwhile, Karakaj sat in a tree outside the local pub. His always-reliable source told him that the ambassador frequented the pub on a nightly basis. He whistled a small tune to himself as he swung his leg beneath the branch he was sitting on. He wished he could have bought himself a pint, but invisibility was his greatest asset. Besides, he had spent the last of his money on that dancer in Tasocia...

Suddenly, the pub's door swung open, and a large, well-built man stepped out. He was wearing green and blue garb - the official ambassadorial colors - and Karakaj looked for the insignia on his chest. The man turned into the moonlight, and there it was, clear as daylight. Karakaj suddenly stood up on his branch. Despite being an ambassador of peace, the man was built like a fighter. Karakaj despised hand-to-hand combat with anyone, much less a man twice his bulk. He took a long needle from one pouch, and a vial of poison from another. He stuck the needle through the stopper, allowing it to become saturated with the deadly stuff. Then leaned forward and whispered aloud, "Ambassador Sarquatus?"

The large man looked around, obviously surprised. "Yes?" He hurriedly asked to no one in particular.

"That's all I needed to hear." With that, Karakaj leapt from the tree into the open air. He flung a poisoned needle at the ambassador. He was aiming for the neck, but the large man was remarkably fast. He was able to move so that it only hit him in the thigh. Save for a small blow to his ego, this miss did not trouble Karakaj. After all, poison is poison. Within moments, the ambassador began clutching at his throat as he fell to the floor. A purple, bubbling liquid began flowing from his mouth. Karakaj walked up to the man with impunity. "Nothing personal, ambassador," he said, "It's just business."

After a few last twitches, the ambassador was dead. It was time to get to work. Karakaj took out a small crystal egg and held it firmly in his left hand. Then, using his right, he dug his sharpened nails into the ambassador's skull. He began muttering the incantation. As he did, a glow emanated from the deepest part of the egg. The process was working. All of the ambassador's memories were being transferred into the crystal. As he spoke the arcane words, he glanced around, hoping that nobody would see him. When the transfer finished about a minute later, Karakaj removed his nails and wiped the blood off on his coat. It was only then that he saw two town guards staring at him from the entrance to the pub.

"What is going on here?" one of the men demanded loudly. The two guards took out their iron batons. This was not a winnable battle. Karakaj placed the crystal egg into one of his belt's compartments, simultaneously taking out another egg, a previously used one. The memories belonged to a boy who had a particularly traumatic, yet unimportant life. It would do perfectly.

"You're going to burn for this, you bastard," a guard said.

"That may be, gentlemen," Karakaj said diplomatically as he flashed a yellowed smile, "but that will not happen today." With that, he flung the egg to the ground. It shattered into thousands of pieces, releasing all the unsettling, violent memories at once for all those in the vicinity to experience. To one with a trained mind like Karakaj's, these memories were just drops in the ocean, no different than any others. However, to normal minds, like the guards', this flood of memories was paralyzing. They dropped their batons and screamed as they clutched their heads.

Knowing never to stay in any one place too long, Karakaj jumped back into the tree and, from their, onto the pub's roof. He then leapt into darkness and out of sight.


It was easy to locate the senator's manor. In fact, it was difficult not to see its alabaster walls shining in the moonlight. Karakaj snuck by the granetine gargoyles standing ever-vigilant at the entrance and climbed up one of the pillars. When he reached the top, though, he was dismayed to find that the window he was supposed to slip into was closed. He jumped from the pillar to the roof and scanned the area for some sort of entrance.

While he was standing on the roof, he reflected on the ambassador's memories. Necrosages, more affectionately known as memory thieves, could see every memory that they gathered into their crystal eggs. It was a useful ability. Apparently, the ambassador did know something about a kidnapping, but not much. He only knew that there was one, and a name - Yargelth Trie. Probably not worth all the money that the senator was paying, but hey, that's why payment always came before the customer could recieve a single memory.

Finally, he saw the reflection of an open window in the senator's wading pool. Making a quick caluculation in his mind, Karakaj ran toward the edge of the roof. Before reaching the edge, he turned and jumped. As he fell, his nimble hands grasped the rain gutter. His momentum swung his legs into the window, and he let the rest of his body follow. Not a bad improvisation, he thought to himself. Taking a step, he tripped over...something, and fell to the floor. It was only then that he realized that there was not a single light on in the house. He was in complete darkness.

"Senator?" He called in his ragged voice. Never one to be caught unprepared, he took a small cube. Squeezing it quickly and forcefully, he felt the cube become intesely hot. He opened his hand to illuminate the room with the cube's light. As soon as he saw a lantern, he tossed the cube into it. With a burst, the lantern came to life. Karakaj spit into his palm to try to cool it down. He glanced to see that it was a small ottoman that he'd tripped over. Taking the now-lit lantern, he called again, "Senator?"

Walking through the darkened house, he saw boxes of jewels and gilded statuetes. Most of them looked fairly gaudy and unappealing, but he was sure they'd fetch a fair price in the black market.

"Senator, I have what you're looking for. I was supposed to meet you tonight, wasn't I? Are you even here?" Eventually, he came to the senator's bedroom door, slightly ajar. Calling once more, he slowly opened the door. Inside he saw Senator Sarquatus, quite dead. A conspicuous gash in his throat showed that it was not a subtle murder. Karakaj knelt down and felt how much the blood had dried. Based on the viscosity, he guessed that the murder had happened a few hours earlier. Karakaj looked around. All the expensive trinkets were still there. Whoever killed the senator was not a thief. Could have it been retaliation for the ambassador's murder?

Reminding himself to be on his way shortly, Karakaj decided to make some profit out of this. The senator was in no position to pay him now; however, he was also in no position to enjoy all those jewels. Karakaj took out the knapsack he always kept with him and began filling it with as many valuables as he could. His haul was likely worth 30 times what this job's pricetag was, so he was satisfied. He was about to leave when he realized that he couldn't just let the senator's memories go to waste. After all, the three biggest cash cows in the memory business were mages, generals, and politicians.

Karakaj took out a crystal egg and dug his fingernails into the senator's skull. If only these were useful during battle he thought to himself. He began the incantation, and before long, all of the senator's remaining memories were in the egg. Karakaj had also seen the memories themselves, and they were...interesting, to say the least.

Karakaj picked up the knapsack filled with valuables and headed for the bedroom door. Suddenly, Karakaj heard a small comotion outside the door. Within a few seconds, a woman and some guards entered into the room. One of the four guards was one that Karakaj had seen at the ambassador's death. That would not play in his favor, but he had no intention of staying. With a smile, Karakaj ran in the opposite direction and jumped out through the window, shattering it. He decided to get out of the town for a while. Being seen at two different murder spots was not a good business practice.

...Besides, with what he learned from the senator, he had a new plan.


In a back alley nearby, Denthos was slowly drifting towards conciousness. At first all he was aware of was a splitting headache, but soon after, too soon in his opinion, he became aware of numerous bruises and aches all over his body. Slowly he opened his eyes a crack, slightly afraid of what he would see. At first he wasn’t sure whether he had opened his eyes at all so total was the darkness that he found himself. Had he been struck down with some malady? Leprosy? Fever perhaps? No, that wasn’t right, he had been healthy yesterday…. Or at least he thought it was yesterday.

But the confused thoughts of a man just awakened where banished from his mind as he slowly began to make out shapes, cobbled stone before his eyes, he was lying down in the gutter. Groaning, he slowly stood up, and stood there swaying for a moment. He looked at his hands and saw blood on them, from the looks of it, it had only been there a few hours, it hadn’t yet had time properly dry. So it had happened again… More blood… Another night he had no recollection of. He had been hoping this town would be the last, he hadn’t had any problems for a while… But no, it was not to be. He had to keep moving, another town, no one would recognise him he could start afresh, until…. Well, he’d think about that if it happened. It was still early, that was lucky, no one around to notice a sunken eyed vagrant wandering around with blood all over his hands, at least not for another hour or so.

He walked as briskly as he could towards one of the towns many fountains, his headache not yet releasing it’s pincer like grip on his mind. The fountain was beautiful, with statues of what could have been cherubs rendered in marble, and inlaid with gold. It was obviously built in the nations golden age, but dark times had fallen over the land since, humans no longer it’s sole masters, and the fountains beauty was marred by the presence of crude graffiti, and the work of sculptors long past had all but been destroyed by vandals. But all this was lost on Denthos as he hurriedly scrubbed at has hands and arms, trying to get rid of the blood that so haunted him. There was little he could do about the bloodstains on his clothing, but he could always buy new ones, or judging by the lightness of his purse, steal them off a clothesline. As he walked towards the city’s main gates, less hurried now that evidence of last nights … incident was less conspicuous, he began to feel the first pangs of hunger in his stomach. But never mind that, he could forage in the woods nearby if need be, gods knew he’d had enough practice.

He finally came up to the towns impressive gates, also built back in the golden age, but unlike the fountain, this gate, and the walls around it where kept in perfect condition by the towns pervasive military. But it wasn’t until he was at the checkpoint itself that he noticed something amiss. Where there was usually only three or four guards manning the gate, there was now at least fifteen, and unlike the usual lot, these wore the red armbands which marked them as part of the elite guard, but what where they doing here? They regarded him with suspicion as he walked up to them, but he was careful to keep his outward appearance calm, even though he was terrified that they where somehow here because of him. One of them stepped in front of him, looking carefully at a scroll and then back to Denthos.


Jord Kelfin Denthos said immediately, he’d adopted many false names in his travels.

“And where are you heading at this hour?”

Therrinsford, I’m going home, I was here to sell my family’s goat at market, but I got mugged before the day was over. He spat on the ground to emphasise his point.

“Another country boy who couldn’t handle the big city eh? Well go on, on your way” he said, waving Denthos on.

Maybe he would go to Therrinsford, maybe not, after all, it was just another city, just another night ahead, and maybe if he just kept walking, he’d leave these… incidents behind.


The oil lanterns in the seedy Tasocia restaraunt were burning dimly, but their warmth was a welcome relief from the sudden cold snap. The dancers were on the stage, gyrating to the music of the fiddles and horns and pipes. One dancer, who also worked as a waitress, saw an old customer seated at a booth in the corner of the room. The small, skinny man used to pay her all the time for, but he didn't seem to notice her today. She stepped off the stage and walked over to him. He was absorbed in a book, his long tendrils of greasy hair extending downward and brushing the pages. She tapped him on the shoulder. When he looked up, he flashed her his irresistable yellowed smile.

"Sosia!" he said quietly yet excitedly. He stood up and gave her a hug. She could feel his sharp nails scratch against her skin.

"You haven't been here in a while, Karakaj," she said blankly. She tried to look at his book, but he kept his hand strategically placed, so as to block her view.

"Times've been hard, funds scarce, employers dead; you know how it goes." Karakaj examined her from head to toe with a jaundiced eye, but she didn't mind. When they stopped looking, that was the time to worry (or so her boss told her). "I'm just meeting with my brother here tonight," he continued, "You remember him, don't you?"


"Well, anyway, we're going to discuss some business, and then you and I can get reacquainted. My last payment was a bit more than usual, so I have money to burn, and all I need is some kindling." He looked at her midriff. "Sapphire necklace sound good?"

Her eyes opened wide. "You'd really give me a sapphire necklace?"

He flashed the smile again. "Of course, Sosia. I wouldn't let my favorite little field mouse go to the poor house, now would I?" Something suddenly caught Karakaj's eye. "Ah, he's here. Bergadrian! Over here!"

Suddenly, a second man came over. He was taller and bulkier than Karakaj, and more presentable overall. Still, the facial features made it obvious that the two were related. Bergradian sat down without even greeting the two of them. He turned his head away from the crowd.

Karakaj turned to Socia. "Now, my little partrige egg, you're going to have to leave the two of us in privacy for a while, and I promise I'll meet up with you afterward."

"Just don't skip town like last time," Sosia replied as she tiptoed back to the stage. Karakaj continued to smile and wave until she was consumed in her dancing. He then sat down and faced his brother.

"Best damned body on this whole continent." He said, trying to make small talk, "Good dancer, too."

"You know I don't like to be seen, Karakaj. Why did you bring me to a restaraunt of all things?"

"Have you tried the duck? The duck is very good."

"You didn't bring me here for a damned duck, Karakaj! This is the first time we've talked in years, so please give me the respect of a few straight answers."

"Has it been years? I could of sworn we saw each other last-" Karakaj was stopped in midsentance when Bergradian stood up.

"If you're not going to talk straight with me," Bergradian growled, "I'm leaving. I have plenty of jobs to do."

"Oh, impatient one," Karakaj muttered. Bergradian began walking away. Karakaj spoke a bit louder this time, "Have you ever heard of a Ferinite?"

Bergradian turned around. "A what?"

Karakaj pushed the book towards the edge of the table. Inside was a sketch of a creature that looked akin to a humanoid cat. Some notes were written under it, headed by "FERINITE" in large lettering. Karakaj dipped his finger in his mug of ale and said, "Amazing creatures, really. Telepathically linked with one another. Don't you remember the stories?"

"The cat people? I kind of remember those stories. What's so important about them?"

"One of the traits of this race is that they pass on their collective history and knowledge to each new member via their telepathy. In a sense, each one has the accumulated knowledge of an entire species! And not just any species, but the legendary cat warriors of the deep forest. A memory thief could make quite a killing with just one of those, wouldn't you say?"

"Yeah," Bergradian replied, "Not to mention the knowledge the thief would gain for themselves. I still don't see what you're getting at. Are you planning on capturing one of those things?"

Karakaj smiled deviously. "The capturing has already been done. Not by me, of course. One of my previous employers was a senator, and he happened to be dead when I came to recieve payments."

"I'll bet you were disappointed," Bergradian said sarcastically.

"Well, I decided to take a look at what was left of his mind, and I saw that one of these ferinites is being held hostage by the Yatagani."

"The snake people?"

"Yes, the telepathic snake people. Barring some interspecial brain comparison, I'm guessing there's something underhanded going on here, though I don't know what. Just a few leads. The senator, of course, but also an ambassador from Trenk."

"Trenk. That's where the snake people reside, isn't it?"

Karakaj smiled as he drew lines on the table with the ale on his fingernail. "You're learning. The ambassador didn't know anything first-hand, but he does know about someone who may. My plan is simple: follow the leads, get to Trenk, infiltrate the Yatagani's colony, kill the Ferinite, take her memories, and get back here, complete with a fully-stocked brain of my own and a memory globe worth half a kingdom in gold."

Bergradian glared at Karakaj for a moment before speaking. "I don't know what makes you more of a damned fool, Karakaj: that plan, or the fact that you're obviously going to ask me to help you carry out that plan."

"Poor old Bergradian. Your conservative thieving methods are the reason why all you take are the odd jobs that barely buy you a new shirt. However, I knew that you wouldn't be too keen on my idea right away. You never are. So, I'll give you the night to think it over. Here, you can sleep in my room upstairs."

With that, Karakaj tossed a key onto the table. Bergradian slowly picked it up. "Where're you gonna sleep," he asked suspiciously.

Karakaj stood up and showed off the key he stole from Sosia when he hugged her. "Why, tonight I'm in the dancer's room." He then briskly walked away.


As the sun peeked over the horizon, the morningdove rose from its nest. It perched upon a branch which overlooked the countryside and took in a deep breath. Then, as was its usual routine, the morningdove began to sing a melodic song for all the world to hear.

The song was cut short, however, as a long needle slid through the morningdove’s throat. Its eyes rolled back as it fell silently from the tree branch.

“Damn birds,” Karakaj said drowsily as he put the extra needles back into the pouch that was sitting next to his bed. There was no way he’d be able to fall back asleep, so he decided to get up.

“What’d you say, sweetie?” A familiar asked behind him. He turned around and saw Sosia lying in the same bed he had just stepped out of. He suddenly remembered where he was again. He also remembered that, apparently, Sosia had a second key to her room. She came in after her performance was over, where she found him lying in her bed, and...

“Oh, right...” Karakaj said, barely aloud. He must have drunken too much ale that night; everything was still a bit fuzzy in his mind’s eye. He looked Sosia straight in the eye. “Well, I’m off!”

“What? You just got here!”

“What do you mean, ‘just got here’? I’ve been here...” he looked at the position of the shadows outside, “...a full eight hours!”

He could see a whimper form on her face. “You said you’d stay this time. You said you’d keep me company.”

“That doesn’t sound like something I’d say,” Karakaj retorted. Suddenly, her face twisted into a frown. “I’ll be back in a minute. I’m just going to check in with my brother.” He began to walk out the door.

“You should probably put on some clothes first,” Sosia said with a newfound wryness. Karakaj looked down and saw that she was indeed telling the truth, however. He really drank too much ale that night.

“That’s why I love you, my little morningdove,” he said, immediately regretting his choice of words. Giving her the pet name of a bird he just killed wouldn’t help her suddenly sour mood. He decided it would be best to leave the room as soon as possible. He put on a simple robe and stepped out the door. When he arrived at the room where his brother was staying, he knocked. “Bergradian!” he said in an almost-singsong tone, “Have you come to a decision yet?”

No reply.

Karakaj knocked again, louder this time. “I’m heading out within the hour, Bergradian. It’s now or never. Get your lazy backside out of bed!”

Still no reply.

Dismayed, Karakaj walked down to the front desk, where the old innkeeper was sleeping on his desk. Karakaj flicked a finger at him. A sharpened nail grazed the old man’s forehead, drawing just a single drop of blood. It was Karakaj’s favorite trick, though it only worked for intimidation, as well as waking up lazy old innkeepers. As the man came to grips with his surroundings, Karakaj asked, “Where’s the occupant of Room 207?”

“What? Oh. Yes, he left before midnight.”

“Bastard!” Karakaj exclaimed with genuine annoyance. Bergradian didn’t even give his offer two hours of thought before leaving. The two never saw eye-to-eye, but he thought that the elder sibling would at least grant him somerespect.

“Yes, he also said that his brother Karasmaj would pay the bill.”

“What bill? He didn’t even stay the night!”

“I’ll take it you’re Karasmaj?”

“It’s Karakaj,” he memory thief said sternly as he placed a silver coin on the desk. The innkeeper greedily pocketed it as Karakaj walked back up the stairs and into Sosia’s room. To his surprise, she was fully dressed; not for dancing, but for traveling.

“I’m going with you,” she said with certainty.

“No, you’re not, Sosia,” Karakaj replied with equal certainty.

“You promised we’d be together. If you’re traveling to the ends of the world, I want to be with you.”

Well, she’s loyal, thought Karakaj, I might just have something to look forward to for retirement. His outer demeanor was less promising for the dancer. “Sosia, my little dragon’s eye, I would let you come with me if we were traveling to the ends of the world. That’s no problem. However, I’m going into Trenk.”


“Trenk. I’m going to meet up with the Yatagani. You know about the Yatagani, don’t you?” She shook her head. He continued as he dressed himself in his travel outfit. “They’re a snake people. Nasty things, really. Savage. Will tear you limb from limb and drink the juices of your marrow. What’s more, they’re telepathic. They can read your mind. They know where you are at all times, and will follow you, spy on you...hunt you.”

Sosia became suddenly flustered. “Why are you going? I don’t want you in danger.”

As he slipped on his gloves, Karakaj flashed the yellowed smile she found oh-so-irresistible. “Oh, we wouldn’t be in danger,” he lied, “But that’s not why you can’t come. You see, the Yatagani have never seen a memory thief before, much less one like me. I have plans, my shining apple. And I don’t want you see what I do to them.” With that, he grabbed her face and kissed her hard enough to stun her for a second. In that second, he jumped out the window, narrowly missing a morningdove with a needle sticking from its throat.


Somewhere in Trenk, many miles away, there is a knock on an office door. Hissskk <Yes Deekin, what is it?> Slowly the door opens, and a smallish Yatagani timidly steps in. <We…we have received a message my Lord.>

And what does it say Deekin? I haven’t got all day.

I don’t quite understand the language my Lord, but I believe it is a warning of some kind. Something about a thought stealer…

*sigh* Bring it here if you aren’t capable of reading it.; Quickly Deekin hands over the dingy scrap of paper.Well, you almost got it right, Deekin, you are improving. Leave me now.

Thank you my Lord.

The message on the paper reads “Beware the Memory Thief; he is more dangerous than you know…” Hiissk; Hmm, interesting…J'NAH!

You called my Lord? A slim female Yatagani enters the office. She is much taller than Deekin; certainly more powerful. Her forked tongue flicks across her lips almost greedily.

Yes, J’nah my dear, it appears that things have just gotten a bit more…complicated. Here, read this. She takes the note, her slanted yellow eyes scanning the page. A faint smile plays across her lips.

This is going to be fun. Mind if I keep this? She tucks it down her top without waiting for a reply.

Of course not my dear, now leave me, you know what needs to be done.

Yes my Lord. Again her tongue flickers across her lightly scaled lips, her scaled feet barely making a sound as she makes her way down the stone corridor.



The force of the shaking brought her to the ground. Her once Forest green eyes went dark like a sharks. Her fur turned the purple black of a panthers and the clouds outside gathered above her room. The tiny room darkens and the shadow rises from the floor, lightning cracks out the window and the bars fall.

lanetashi She hears all the bird call out as they flee her presence.

hehehe, little things. mmmmm, but aren't i hungry

Growling softly and then jumping to the window she easily clicks it open. Around an alarms sounds and she smiles at all the "ants" moving below on the green grass. Finally she spots what she was looking for, and she salivates, licks her lips, and leaps out and on to a near by roof top.

It hides under a near by tree and crouches all alone, she can feel the shivers it has from the cold wind on it back. The smell of it’s fear is intoxicating and heighten the joy she feels as she creeps closer. When she gets to the end of the house she falls to the earth landing on her hands, feet and knees. Just then a flash of lighting crashes and reflects off her eyes and teeth. The scent increases and her ears are flooded with the increase in heart beat. It’s smaller then she though just a mid-aged cub, but oh well it will have to do. She sinks to the ground and stills her heart testing that all her muscles are ready, her eyes never leave her prey. Every one has gone inside, but this unfortunate soul was to scared to move further then the tree out of the storm.

Pouncing she tackles her prey clamping her jaws down on it’s neck fast, it’s half cut scream is heard by none, as the storm opens up and starts to pour. It’s life blood washes away as water falls and meets the gentle pond before her.

She relishes the feel of its heart beat in her mouth then, with a quick turn of her head it’s feels no more, and she digs in. Tearing flesh, drinking blood, sucking on bones. The remains wash away and after a few quick detail licks she is just a drenched kitty and with the hunger gone, the rain stops and the air around her starts to tingle with the static electricity she calls. Calmly turning she climbs the near by tree and starts to rest.

The clouds over head start to part and the setting sun can be seen calmly following it’s normal pattern.


J’nah walked down the silent corridor, thinking about the memory thief and the banteki. She really wanted to investigate the message, but she knew her first duty was to check on the savage. They couldn’t afford to let her get away again.

The futsutsuka will suffer for the inconvenience they have caused the Yatagani. Our mission would be complete if it wasn’t for their stupidity She thought savagely. Of course that is why they called the humans futsutsuka, it means stupid or incompetent in the Yatagani tongue.

The futsutsuka land was many days away for one of them, but J’nah knew she could make it by morning. Pausing near one of the many archways leading outside, she gazed up at the moon as it started to rise over the mountains. The soft light shone off her bald head, the black scales shifting iridescently. Far in the distance, she could see the storm clouds forming over the futsutsuka lands.

Hmmm…seems she couldn’t control herself after all. Do you see that Lord Akuma?

Yes, J’nah, we don’t have much time. We need her before she fully turns.

Worry not my Lord, I will be there by morning. We will soon have her back.

J’nah spent most of the morning watching the futsutsukas, studying their guard patterns. She had watched them before, when they had first discovered that the banteki was their prisoner. Nothing much had changed.

They are such a primitive race, getting past them should be no problem. But the banteki could pose a slight problem, if the darkness inside has fully taken control. She thought to herself. The sky had rapidly cleared, which had to be caused by the banteki. Further evidence that they were running out of time.

It had rained recently, the ground was still wet and the smell hung in the air. J’nah jumped down from her hiding place in an ancient tree and silently made her way toward where she knew they were holding the bantenki. Her scaled skin shimmered in the dim light of the forest, her bare feet scarcely leaving a mark on the ground.

She had already decided to do this the ‘hard’ way. No futsutsuka would be left alive this time. It had been too long since she had felt their blood on her hands and tasted it on her lips.


(Here Ends the Tales)

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