All I ask?

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Disclaimer, explanation, credits

This blog contains cursing, and descriptions of violence.

What you see here is the the text from a large roleplay between Sighthoundlady, Mis, Apel and Faustt. Which means sometimes there are jumps back as people reply to the previous post, and other such jumps that roleplaying with multiple people causes. Really, if you read all this, you can do a wish at the end and I bet it'll come true too. Because that's some down right skill there. Really, I kind of expect noone to and I would not blame them. This is simply to get this out there, perhaps for some who are really interested to read it. Or just look at the pretty art.
This blog contains invisible scroll bars.

Art is done by Sighthoundlady, Mis, and some art stolen from Apeldille in a background somewhere blurred.
Texture that is used a lot is from here, who doesn't care about credit but really you should check them out. Lifechanging.

Herla was busy.

It was a usual state of affairs, the little feathered medicine doe didn’t stop from the moment she woke up in the morning at the crack of dawn until the last bits of sunlight vanished over the horizon in the evening and she collapsed into an exhausted sleep. Three young active girls ran about their home in the birch forest. A large ceramic bowl boiled over the fire, as Herla added ingredients, preparing a new batch of poultices. Stirring the thick goop, she alternated between that and working over her grinding stone, finely crushing dried comfrey root. Though intent on her work, one ruby eye always managed to track her children’s activity. The three sisters were currently playing with some paints that Verve had given them for the purpose, painting the family rocks and any other surface within their reach. She’d taught them to write their names last week. Now the rocks where graffitied with their scrawling. Neela had taken to it the quickest, Herla couldn’t even actually remember showing her youngest daughter her name before she’d looked up and seen it spelled in the sand. Fast learner she thought.

They were painting each other now. They were going to need baths. At least it kept them busy. A raven landed in the tree near her cooking pot. Herla gave it a passing glance before she returned to her grinding stone. She didn’t really notice when it landed by the fawns. And she was only mildly aware when Neela dropped her paint brush and went toddling after the large black bird. “Don’t go too far, Neela,” Herla murmured, distracted by her cooking pot boiling over, sending her running to tend it.

The raven gripped the branch in large black scaled talons, a piercing blue eye peering at the activity below from his vantage in the tree. He was not surprised that Herla didn’t recognize him, it’d been a long time since he’d seen her. He watched her just a moment. She’d been a good student. He wasn’t here for her though. His eyes traveled to the fawns where they played. The smallest one, that was her, not hard to spot, her power leaking out of her like a dam about to break, her form too small and frail to properly contain it. It was dangerous. He’d come to stop it. Woden was not a hateful being. He did nothing from malice or hatred. But a being that had lived as long as him became disconnected at the best of times, callus in the worst. Mortals where born and died in a flash, they were like ants. He could get attached to them sometimes though. There’d been many times he’d entered their lives and felt its tug on his own soul. He thought of that now. This child. She looked like her mother. Like her grandmother. He’d known them both. His gaze flickered to Herla where she worked. This would make her sad. Hurt her. He found he didn’t like the thought of that, if possible the raven’s face would have frowned.

Steely resolve coiled about his old heart though. He alighted on the ground in front of the child, she peered at him with wide, interested eyes. “Caw,” he said to her and led her away from her family. It was not hard and he was grateful for that. In the end he didn’t want to harm her, he’d been prepared to do that if necessary, if her power had grown quickly enough and she could fight him. But though she flared brightly with Power it was chaotic. Unfocused. So child-like still. Maybe they were wrong. He’d find out soon enough. He led her to a secluded glade, no witnesses. When he was sure they were alone, he cast off the glamour of the raven’s form. It was too restrictive for what he needed to do and the Power he would need to call upon to do it. Glamour was a belief magic so strong, it had the power to change actual physical reality. He was not really a raven but at the same time he was. Until he didn’t want to be any more.

A massive stag stood in the raven’s place, his shaggy pelt a deep mahogany hue, his face a stag’s skull stained like the mud of the earth, great twisting antlers curving over his back. Deeply carved into the bone and antler, runic glyphs etched along it’s lines in a language long forgotten, remembered by only a few, they held a life of their own and they defied the eye, appearing to shift and change, escaping any attempt for the eye to hold. They glowed with Power.

The child trembled at his feet, her eyes now wide and fearful, she tried to bolt away but a leg shot out to stop her, she bounced to the forest floor stunned. The stag lowered his skulled face on level with hers, “Do you know me?” he asked as he watched her face and at the same time her Power. It flared white hot and on her face he saw a flash of recognition, followed by something old and calculating that looked back at him a moment, with knowledge and secrets none so young should ever know, only to be quickly replaced by the façade of a child. But he’d seen it. The Horned God was right. Woden knew what he had to do. His own Power flashed out and the child who never uttered a sound screamed.

And the silence returned.

The scream ripped through Herla like a physical blow. The heavy ceramic bowl she’d been lifting off the fire crashed to the ground forgotten, its hot contents splashing everywhere. The doe staggered a moment, her head whipping around, an icy dread sinking like a knife into her heart, “Neela!” she exclaimed and then she was gone, racing with Fae speed toward her daughter and where she somehow knew her to be.

And she found her. Prone at the feet of one she knew. She froze. Fear paralyzing her.

Gehirn wasn’t far off, napping on top of the hill. Though his ear was constantly directed in the direction of his wife and children, Herla cooking and the girls playing about. He was relieved they had some extra babysitters now Verve and Ephiré had returned, and perhaps took it a little too easy at times. He had never been able to get Herla to relax a bit more often. She just didn’t seem to be able to.
Gehirn, on the other hand, loved laying in the sun and snoring away.

At the scream he seemed to shoot awake, immediately in the highest of alerts. And when Herla called out to her daughter, the massive giant made it on his hooves in a matter of seconds. Was that Neela!?
There was a voice ringing through his head trying to deny it. Neela didn’t make sound. But Herla was so fast, how could he even voice those doubts?

From the bushes just a side of Woden came leaping the tallest doe in the woods, the horns of her large headdress extended out like spears as she rammed into the stag standing next to Neela. There was no freezing for her, no doubt or contemplation. Though she knew if she missed she’d just be a tall bag of bones crashing into his side, she’d still be doing something about this situation.

It was less than a minute when the massive brute himself announced him with the earthquake his hooves droning the ground caused. He staggered at the scene and stopped to a halt, hovering over his mate. “What did you do to Neela!?” He yelled at the stag, his voice far louder than the shaking his thundering hooves caused. The fur on his neck stood upright, his entire body language set to violence.

Herla felt as if her heart was in her throat seeing her prone daughter at the feet of a being whose power she knew could be world ending. And then Verve, who was just as much a daughter of her heart, throwing herself at him. The spiky horns that adorned her hit their mark true though, slamming into the mahogany stag’s side. Gehirn was at her side, he seemed to appear between one heart beat and the next, thunder on his heals almost a magic of his own to Herla’s heightened state at seeing her old mentor, “It’s Woden,” she told him, her face a mask of fearful horror, the Fae stag was turning to Verve now, her husband was a violence that would not be stopped as well. And they would both die, Woden would kill them all if he wanted too. Neela perhaps already dead. Magic flashed from the stag’s wounds, white and brilliant, as if he was filled with light and now there where holes for it to escape. He was turning his tines on Verve. She only had a moment now Herla knew, the wounds would be life threatening to any other stag, Woden’s physical form was vulnerable in this moment, to heal he would need to pull the Power from Fairy, the veil between their worlds would be faded around him as he did so, this was her chance and the only thing she could possibly think to stop him, all these thoughts transpired in a fraction of a second

A power word erupted from the small doe, ripping out of her like a cannon, it’s pain immeasurable. It echoed through her every fiber pulling every bit of magic the doe possessed and tore through the air, a physical force. “Leave!” a simple word, a short word, spoken in the long forgotten words of the Ancient Fae, taught to her by Woden himself. A word she’d spent years trying to master in her youth, but she’d never been strong enough, her magic too weak to call forth its full power. Great need could be the tipping point in such matters of magic however and the single word uttered by the tiny doe in protection of those she loved, slammed into Woden, entering the wounds that Verve had made and with the veil so thin between worlds, the word of banishment had the most chance of success. The greater part of Woden and his power was blasted away from him and carried to Fairy, leaving a thin physical shell still to stand in this world. The stag faltered, staggered. The banishment was incomplete, Woden was an ancient, his power transcended worlds. But he swayed on his feet, perhaps more vulnerable then he’d ever been he looked at Herla with shock on his face. He crumpled to the ground.

The small doe had wasted no time after she’d uttered the word, she raced forward to throw herself over the prone form of her infant daughter, she couldn’t tell yet if she was alive or dead but the mother would shield her with her last dying breath. Blood trickled from the feathered does’ nose, wielding the power word was not without repercussion Herla spared a moment now to inspect her daughter, her chest rose and fell in an even pattern, her lips a warm pink even, but she wouldn’t wake and Herla could feel the old magic that wrapped around her daughter. A suffocating blanket. “She’s alive,” She breathed, her frantic gaze going to Gehirn, “But she won’t wake, he’s done something to her.”

“Why Woden?” Herla cried, echoing her mates’ demands to know what he had done, “Why have you come to destroy my family? What have you done to my daughter?”

Woden appeared calm now as he lay upon the forest floor. His form rippled, appearing transparent in places, transparent blood trickling to the forest floor from the wounds that Verve had made. “She’s Sleeping,” he told her, “I’ve come to take her with me. The Old Fae want her in Fairy with them. She’s too dangerous. She can’t stay here. She needs to be contained.”

“She’s just a baby! She needs to stay with her family,” Herla shouted back at him as she curled protectively about her child, an icy dread numbed her bones though. Even in this state she knew they wouldn’t be able to stop Woden if he truly wanted to take Neela from them, “You can’t do this. You can’t.” Herla didn’t have the strength for another power word. She wouldn’t be able to stop him.

Woden appeared unmoved and rose now to his feet, the rays of sunlight filtering through the trees slicing through is partial form. “She can’t stay here,” he repeated, moving forward towards them, “Things like her are not meant to be. She will be destroyed and she will destroy everything around her too.”

It was a matter of seconds and brief flashes that Verve had the time to recover from her own impact, making a fast motion to the side to evade any counter attack. Her horns dripped something akin to blood and white mist, and perhaps in any other situation she would’ve worried about the state of her headdress now. Her expression was determined, ice cold, and in that moment the doe looked like an exact replica of her father. She landed her hooves in the dirt was the other stag had turned. Then Herla yelled, the power of it sending Verve down to the ground as well. The air escaped her lungs as she slammed the dirt, though it was only that. A bruise to tell the tale later likely.

The stag stood over his mate and daughter as Herla had thrown herself over her. What was that stag blabbering? Fairy? Contained? She was their child for god’s sake! The giant stood still as Herla spoke to him. He did recognize him, Woden. Had even suggested to ask him about the wild hunt and any way to stop it. But the reason for this was past him. As soon as the stag stood up again, his hooves buried deeper into the ground, his neck tensed. “I care little about everything around her. You are NOT taking my daughter!” He said as he launched himself, massive antlers forward. They fanned out wide, concentrated to hit the stag where-ever he could. He didn’t care about his magic mumbo-jumbo. Barely understood what what he was saying meant. Destroy everything? How did that even make sense? She’s just a child. And now she wasn’t waking up.

Herla’s ruby eyes cast to her step-daughter who had been thrown to the ground as well by the blast of the Power word. Verve was not Fae, so she could not be banished to Fairy but it still had been a reckless move, intent in magic was as important as anything, and Herla’s intent had been to banish Woden, but such strong magic could have a life of its own. That she had only been knocked to the ground was a relief. Magic was a double edged sword that had penalty and repercussion.

Woden’s physical form was sluggish, much of his power in use now to keep his form intact and in this place. The body had instincts of its own though and it’s head lowered branching sharp tines of its own, their presence real enough, as they met the charge of the massive bull. Antlers clashed like thunder, the sound reverberating through the forest like a gun shot. Woden’s hooves dug deep trenches into the earth as he was shoved back with the impact of Gehirn’s blow but he did not go down. The glyphs on the Fae stag’s skull and antlers glowed brighter, they swirled and flowed seeming to gather power, the mahogany stag’s form gaining further solidity. Glowing orange eyes deep in skull sockets, trained upon the male’s whose antlers had locked with his, seeing the ferocious crimson gaze they leveled upon him. A flicker of memory licked at the back of his mind. The Fae’s body strained, muscles trembling, antlers still locked, but his voice came out calm, like there was no effort at all in speaking and perhaps there wasn’t, “Red eyes. A father. He fights so hard. But he will lose everything,” the last bit perhaps a bit of sadness and his strength seemed to falter with it, to hesitate in his resolve. Memory coalescing with present and extending into the future. It was a problem the oldest Fae faced, they could spend eternity staring through the vastness of time. He could be wrenched to the ground in that moment, his form going faded again, the body seeming to forget how to defend itself.

Verve had scrambled herself up again just in time as the males clashed. She jumped out of the way, going back over to Herla and Neela. She decided to stay a little behind Herla though.. Wasn’t going to get in between any yelling anymore. She watched as the two stags seemed bound in a struggle, their tines intertwined. She expected the sound of bones breaking soon, there was so much tension on their muscles.

At Woden’s word’s Gehirn’s expression went from furious to something closer to insane. Flashes of images, his dying son, his eldest daughter bled out. There was no chance in hell, no chance at all this guy would now take the youngest! He screamed, pushing the stag back with his massive antlers as he tried to spear him. With his size, he started pushing the other stag down on the ground, making room to lift his heavy front leg and stomp his legs into him. He would maim him, tear him apart if given the chance.

The strain was too much in fact and things did break, Woden’s resolve had faltered and with it his physical form. Gehirn’s scream of rage followed by the sickening sound of bone splintering had Herla to her feet, hovering over her unconscious daughter, sure she was about to see her mate killed before her eyes. But it hadn’t been his bones breaking, to her astonishment it was Wodens, one antler broken off at the base, the Fae stag going down under the assault of the Irish’s pounding hooves and his sharp tines. A spider web of cracks over the Fae entity’s skull leaked orange hued light, the fracture lines racing uninterrupted across the stag’s entire form in all directions like ice fractures over a frozen lake.

The fractures multiplied exponentially, then in a blinding flash of light, the stag shaped form blew apart, Herla huddled over her daughter in the face of the explosion or she would have been knocked down. She looked up again as quickly as she could, desperate to see what had happened, was Gehirn alright? Had he beaten Woden?

A swirl of orange mist condescend over the spot where Woden had lain. It coalesced, once again into a solid form, only now much smaller, a flutter of black feathers flew out of the mist, a raven beat it’s wings, flying up to grip a branch in a tree overhead.

Herla looked up at him, terror and fear still in her eyes. He would just keep coming, no matter how hard they fought him, they wouldn’t be able to stop him. But she would die trying because that’s what a parent did. Getting to her feet, she mustered what magic she could and sucked in a breath, ready to shatter herself with the utterance of another Power word.

“Peace Mother,” Woden said, his voice the same from his Raven mouth as when he was a stag. “I capitulate,” Herla’s mouth clamped close stunned, though she did not move from over her daughter, She shook with fear and anger, as the raven’s alien eye regarded her, her daughter, Gehirn and Verve as well as if making a decision now. “She can stay,” he announced, “She can be of no harm to herself and others in this way. In her are the memories, perhaps the very souls of every mother of your line, little Fae doe,” he told her, “This is not meant to be, mortal frames cannot bear this. You may come to regret this but you have chosen.”

The raven turned its eye upon Gehirn, “I took a daughter from a father once. The imbalance of a debt unpaid long now upon me. It is repaid now. She stays here with you.”

“I will advocate on your behalf in the court of the Old Fae,” and with that cryptic utterance the Raven formed entity flew apart again in a flash of bright light. Empty air now in the spot he had once occupied. Herla looked down to Neela. She did not wake.

He didn’t stop anytime soon. As soon as the crack in Woden’s defense was revealed, Gehirn was merciless. He had never been able to fight back before. Never able to fight for his children. So when he could, he seemed to lose it entirely. He didn’t even see the cracks or the orange light. He just saw a stag to destroy. A thing.
Only when the form was blown apart was the giant put to a halt. He reared up again, his eyes closed tight. Gehirn let out a loud grunt, still kicking out at the mist and whatever appeared at his feet. He followed the raven with his eyes, turning his head as he was about to crash into the tree again. Only when the word “capitulate” fell, did the giant slow down. Though his crash into the tree was still quite the thud. He took some steps back, shaking his antlers. The tall doe eyed the raven suspiciously, standing her ground. She stayed close to Herla and Neela, one hoof in front of them.

The stag frowned at the raven’s words. Perhaps not totally understanding what he meant. But Neela stayed so, that was what mattered. “As if he did us a FAVOUR!” The stag yelled as the raven flew off. “Oh I’ll do something on your behalf BLAH BLAH!” He let out a loud snort, turning to Herla, Neela and Verve. His neck hair was still upright, his face still screamed murder. Verve dropped her ears at the sight, though quickly turned to Neela. “Is she okay? What did he even do? She isn’t going to wake?” The doe frowned. That was.. A horrible fate as well.
Gehirn took a few long, heavy breaths as if to calm down. “Let’s bring her home. Perhaps then we can think of how to wake her.”

He watched. Not far off. Just silently. He had trotted over at the feeling of a strong source of magic, loud noises and things akin to explosions. Fae’s, surely. At the sight of the family he stopped, keeping himself hidden behind the trees. For as far as that ever worked with a large spinning halo above your head. His one eye scanned the scene, falling atop Neela. Runes flowed over her body in his eye sight. A curse, surely. Altijd watched as the family took her back into the birch, perhaps because their other children were still there too. He inspected the scene as they left, trying to sniff out any smoke he could. Hey, it was still a priority. But this entity was different.. His body not like those from the woods. So instead the halo stag trailed far behind the family. Curiosity, perhaps. A disaster tourist maybe. But he remembered Neela’s big curious eyes, and perhaps felt sad about what had been done to her.

The raven’s feathers had ruffled momentarily when the giant Irish slammed into the tree, pine needles showered down but the corvid’s grip on the branch remained steady. Herla was grateful to see her mate still alive, his angry glare and ferocious yelling all testament to his living state. That Woden had left and they were all still alive seemed to bewilder the small doe the most, “You stopped him,” she murmured looking at Gehirn with a dazed expression, the blood still wanting to drip from her nose, the small doe remained stunned from her magic use. She shook her head trying to clear it, absent mindedly wiping her bloody nose on her foreleg.

“I don’t know,” she answered Verve, shaking her head again in dismay, “I don’t know why he tried to take her, why he did…this to her. To us. He was my mentor. He taught me of medicines and magic,” Herla was still reeling in shock for many reason. She nodded numbly to Gehirn when he said they should take her home now, she stumbled in a daze along with them her eyes on her tiny daughter almost as if she lost sight of her she might disappear forever. Any other time she might have noticed the strange stag with the circling halo over his head. She stumbled almost sightless though.

When they got her home, they laid the fawn in a bed of the softest rabbit furs, Herla fussing with arranging her, wrapping herself around the small frail form, nuzzling her gently, still trying to awaken her…but the child slept on. Herla wouldn’t give up, she murmured many things, telling Neela she was alright that they loved her and that they really would just like her to wake up now. The mother didn’t cry, her face remained dry, but anyone who looked in her eyes would see them looking haunted and fearful. She would lift those eyes to look at her other children but it was like she didn’t see them at all. She didn’t see anything anymore.

The stag stopped raging at his wife’s words, turning to look at her. He paused, his eyes falling on the sleeping form of Neela below her. “Of course I stopped him.” He answered as he lowered his head towards them. Of course, he wasn’t aware of Woden’s real power. And perhaps it did not matter now either.

Gehirn nor Verve had an answer for Herla. Verve seemed disappointed mostly. So even those you trust can’t actually be trusted? How do things turn out in such a way? And Neela is just so young really, how would she deserve this?
The large irish lifted Neela up gently by her scruff, bringing her back to their birch home.

He sat down next to the pair, in silence this time. Herla was doing her best to wake the child, and he did not know how to assist. Verve had made sure to bring her softest furs over, but remained quiet as well. She sat on a bit further away, her ears hanging.
Gehirn’s eyes had stopped wandering, simply looking at the scene before him. It was as if he had lost all reality, unsure on how to respond to this all. She would just wake up in a few moments..

It took him a few deep breaths before he went down to approach, keeping a low profile. Didn’t want to startle them, after all. Though nobody seemed to respond initially.. So Altijd coughed, somewhat subtle. At this the giant’s head turned almost violently, jumping on all fours as he charged at the halo-stag.
Altijd’s ear’s dropped immediately, and he seemed to let out a small whimper before dodging the massive stag’s charge. At least he was fast. But the large bull followed quickly, having Altijd scramble to his feet again. “Nonono wait! Aaah!” The forehead-eyed stag yelled as he was being ran off again. Verve looked at the scene somewhat.. Confused. “Dad? Maybe hear him out first?” She suggested as the raging bull lifted his head up, stopping in his tracks. “Have you looked at him! He well fits that Woden figure! What if he’s here to finish the job!” Gehirn yelled back as Altijd scrambled to hide behind a tree. “Phew. No I’m not, really! Herla knows me, right? I’m Altijd!” He must look very unimpressing, fleeing like a little child whilst above his head this stoic halo just kept on spinning. Of course he could fight back, but how was he going to win their trust then? No, he was a weak weirdo with an extra eye and that was that. “Maybe I can help! That’s the only reason I’m here.” The stag tried to reassure, still keeping a submissive pose to the irish that was now frowning at him with his head raised. “Look, he put a curse on her, I think. Can’t really tell from here what kind. She just seemed to have so much potential to me, it’d be a shame to have her wither?” His eye blinked rapidly for a moment, looking at Herla mostly. Please stop your husband from killing me, it seemed to say. In morse-code.
Not that he could be killed like that.. But who had to know?

Herla fretted over Neela, other than not waking from sleep though, she looked fine, her breathing strong and steady, her lips a healthy pink hue, not the sickly blue shade like when she would faint or collapse when she was younger. Herla muttered softly, almost to herself, “If she won’t wake up I won’t be able to give her the foxglove,” the medicine for Neela’s heart that the mother made sure she had every day. Food, water anything. Would her daughter now starve to death and die because she could not wake up? Herla did not know if this was truly just a sleep or a binding of some kind, a sort of stasis. She probed with her own magic, tentatively poking at the spell that she could sense wrapping like a blanket around her child but it gave her no further answers.

Herla’s focus had been completely on Neela, she hadn’t noticed the halo stag approach or even his tentative cough. It was Gehirn shooting to his feet from where he’d been sitting next to her and charging after the smaller male that made her look up. Herla was alarmed as well, so soon on the heels of Woden’s attack, the small doe was flinchy a wary too upon first sight of the strange male with the spinning halo atop his head. But she recognized him well enough.

He was saying he could help and his expression beseeched her to let him. And to call off the raging bull breathing down his neck. Herla wasn’t sure if they could trust him or not but they would never find out if Gehirn smeared him across the birch forest first. “Gehirn,” Herla spoke up, the feathered doe rising to her feet and stepping toward the two males. “I do know him,” she told her husband, “Not so long ago, he brought Neela back home when she had wandered away. I meant to tell you of it, but it slipped my mind. He seemed kind, but he said odd things, that Neela…was very powerful and that others may take notice because of it. And that it might not be good. He tried to warn me…,” she blinked as if just now realizing that the strange stag had perhaps predicated this, “I didn’t really listen…I never thought Woden would…” try to take their daughter, she didn’t finish. Instead she turned her gaze back to Altijd, the halo disconcerting as it was before but she found it easier to look at him if she just focused on the central eye on his forehead, “A curse? You know what he did? Why he did it?” Herla asked, her voice trembling a little bit. She wanted to believe that he could help, but she was afraid to trust him also. Swallowing hard, her voice falling very soft, “Do you know how to wake her up?”

The stag seemed to bop his head sideways from the tree, frowning. “You didn’t really listen? There he was, doing his best to explain what he felt from Neela and she hadn’t really listened? Gehirn looked at his mate first as she explained, then back to the halo-stag. At Least he had brought Neela back? He knew the fawn could be a handful at times for Herla. Wandered off constantly. Bringing her back seemed a responsible thought progress. So he stopped his assault, but still kept his eyes at the stag as he walked back to his mate and children.
“I didn’t say that odd things..” Altijd muttered. He looked a little off-put. Sure socializing was never his strong side. But was he that derpy? At Herla’s question he looked up again, attempting to walk closer to them without being slaughtered. “Those are a lot of yes-no que-“ he tried to answer as Herla continued her assault. “Uhm. Okay, well, let me begin by that I am not sure. But I have my suspicions.” He said as he stood on three legs, waving the third around as he explained. All the while his halo contently kept buzzing on as it spun. “Perhaps let me introduce myself a bit better. I am Hamaliel, Altijd, Ecanus. You didn’t find anything in your books because you looked for Altijd. I am an entity that uhm, creates new souls to live in a world. So no reincarnation here.” Re-used pictograms were still the same old souls, shells in a sense. “So I in essence know a bit of each carrier of my souls. I’ve also lived a long, long time so most curses and spells are-“ He explained as he caught sight of Gehirn’s ever growing frown. The angel paused, looking at him for a moment. “I think he cursed her, I also think he did it because the Fae are afraid of her potential. You know, the potentional I predicted you.” He said with a little frown, still waving his hand-hoof. Now he made a few more confident steps forward. “I might do. I need to learn more about it first and foremost. I can read the signs of the curse he placed on her, but they’re on her body. With some information from that, we could look into some of your books?” Altijd proposed. Maybe he could figure it out on himself. But he was not as all-knowing as Temeluch, and he was in NO mood to ask her. For anything, ever. And perhaps giving Herla the option to help too would give her a reason to snap out of the state she was in.

Gehirn looked at his mate with a raised eyebrow. “He looks creepy.” Was his conclusion. To which Altijd facepalmed pretty loudly.

Herla’s ears fell back, indeed she should have listened to Altijd’s warnings, done something to protect her daughter…though she didn’t know what she could have done. Likely if she’d taken his words more to heart, she might have even attempted to summon her old mentor for guidance on the issue. But he’d turned out to be the very danger that’d been warned of. “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to your warnings,” she replied numbly.

Any other time, listening to the stag reveal his true nature would have greatly intrigued Herla and on some level she remained very interested. But with Neela laying unconscious and unwaking, she merely seemed to listen with a desperate look on her face, clearly hoping that whatever his skills where, whatever his deeper nature…he’d be able to help them. To help her daughter.

“Her potential?” Herla was still confused what that all meant, all her children seemed to have magic to some degree, what was it about Neela that seemed to have moved the most old and powerful of the Fae to attempt to kidnap her from her family? “Woden said she has the memories of all the mothers of my line,” she told him softly, remembering now the stag’s confusing words, “But she’s just a baby, how can that be?” Neela seemed like any other child, she’d had a rough start health wise and was startling precocious even at a young age, but still, just a child, right?

Herla’s instinct was to guard Neela from Altijd’s closer inspection, she made a move to do that when he moved closer but she stopped herself, her eyes going back to the halo stag, watching him carefully as he approached her child. “I can sense there is a spell on her but otherwise nothing more than that,” she told him hovering over her daughter now, “If you can read it though…” Herla might have become just a bit more hopeful. They had something to do. Some proactive way to help Neela besides staring at her and hand wringing. Herla jumped on that very quickly of course, the hope might have shown in her eyes when she looked up at her mate, “If you can read it,” she turned back to Altijd, “And perhaps write it in the sand I maybe able to interpret it. Woden taught me some of the runic Fae language. And I have books as well.” She shared Gehirn’s reservations of course, they did not truly know this stag or his intentions, but what else could they do?

“Oh no that’s alright. I thought you just didn’t listen to me at all.” He shrugged with an awkward grin on his face.

Altijd nodded in reply to her words about what Woden had said. “I thought something like that, yes. Do you realize what that means?” The stag tilted his head slightly at her. “Very big chance you had a powerful Fae somewhere in your blood line, otherwise you wouldn’t be one to begin with. Neela also knows her memories. And all the powerful Fae’s after her, down until you. So she could grow up to become very, very strong.” Altijd explained as simple as he could. “Now, apparently the Fae think that the best solution to this not-yet-a-problem situation is to just end her life now before she can fight back.” His tone implied he didn’t agree with that at all. Altijd sat down next to Neela, though still at a fairly decent distance, when Gehirn made some room for him. Altijd was well aware of the closeness of the giant though. One swoop and he’d be launched back into the first forest. So better not screw it up. This was too interesting to just pass up, watch the girl die. “It’s a very powerful spell.” He concluded, one of his hoof-like fingers hovering above the fawn as his halo rotated a little faster. With his other hoof, he started to scribble signs in the sand. At some point even shoo’ing Gehirn away to make more space. Soon he had drawn a large half-circle of runes around himself. “I’m a bit dusty in this whole language ordeal..” He admitted, again the awkward smile back. “But if you have a book on it that could be very handy.” His eye went back to the fawn, she was sleeping fairly peacefully.. But he wondered if it was like that in her mind too. Opening that up would take a lot of energy for him. And he was only half full right now. But for now they could just look at the runes, of course.

Gehirn just mostly looked befuddled, now sitting next to Verve who’s long neck reached easily to oversee the whole scene. They were both rather wary but, so far the oddball had made no ill moves. He was awkward that much was clear. Not normally this social it seemed.
“Okay.” He said with a somewhat relieved sigh. “I think I got most of it, if not all. I think the curse he used has something to do with the memories she carries. But that’s all I remember of reading those runes.” He said as he turned to Herla. Perhaps somewhat disappointed in himself. Oh well, after living so long it was only to be expected you didn’t remember it all.

As Altijd rather simply and calmly outlined things to her, Herla finally began to grasp what it was they were up against with Neela. Her ears drooped quite a lot, “She doesn’t talk, never makes a sound. But when we where in India and the Wild Hunt came, she called me back. She stopped it. I didn’t want to believe it. I was just so happy she was improving and playing like a normal child, it’s all I wanted for her. A happy child,” Herla seemed to slump into herself, “My poor baby,” she said peering at the sleeping fawn, brushing aside some of the whispy white hair she’d started to grow from around her face. “You never asked for this,” she whispered to the child, “I’m sorry I didn’t protect you better or understand this sooner,” Herla could very easily fall into abject depression but now was not the time. She would help Neela now and that had to be what mattered.

It was hard not to let herself trust Altijd as he inspected Neela and began to scrawl the ruins he could see into the dirt. His manner was so self-effacing and harmless. If his claims about what he could he do where true though, he could indeed be quite powerful, whatever his reasons where for deciding to offer them aid, Herla had some inkling of the value of that. The power in the ruins, just written upon the earth caught Herla’s attention immediately, she could feel the power of the spell in them. “Altijd stop,” she said alarmed, “We must proceed with caution,” she looked around thinking quickly, “These need to be contained before we proceed further,” Herla went to rummage through the family stash at the nearby rocks, returning with a satchel, she began pulling out ward stones, the same one’s she’d collected from the Glade when they’d moved, they were still connected to their family and could provide powerful protection, “Ward stones,” she told Altijd, “I’ll make a power circle, you can draw all the symbols within it, it will help to protect those outside it,” she told him, laying the stones in a wide circle about his writings. She’d brought back a couple books too laying them nearby.

Herla was peering closely at the ruins he had written, almost lost in thought as she began to decipher their meaning, “No this is wonderful,” she told him, “I couldn’t even have seen these without your help,” she was looking at her books as well, consulting them, after a long while of looking and studying she spoke again, “I think you’re right. Her sleep seems bound to in some way to the past memories, but it seems to imply unless they are removed she will not awaken,” Herla’s ears fell back again, how could they hope to do that though? She puzzled a bit looking closely at a particular rune, “Removed. Or resolved. It’s unclear though, it can mean both things,” she looked to Altijd, seeing if he had any further clarification. What did it mean?

Altijd nodded as Herla explained Neela never spoke. “I suppose she hasn’t really grasped the entire thing yet either. Which is likely why they want her gone now, doubt they can do that when she makes it to adulthood.” He seemed to turn somewhat sad when the doe slumped. “Hey.” He said, lowering his head somewhat for her. “She still can be happy. Even with all those memories. It’s not impossible. She has a loving family and I’m sure you’d all support her. We should focus first on having her wake up.”

He had stopped when she had asked him to, and hadn’t proceeded until she had said it was okay again. Maybe he was a bit too enthusiastic. Though for some reason it pleased him she addressed him with Altijd. “That’s alright.” He answered when she thanked him. Though listened silently as she spoke of the memories binding her. “I think.” He said, pointing out some of the runes. “That he is using negative parts of the memories. Like, unresolved memories. Memories, or lives, with an unsatisfying end result. Those are what keep her down then.” The stag lifted his hand away from the runes again, looking through one of the books Herla had. “It’s a bit of both. Resolving them removes them. So, I think, if we resolve them for her, they can not be used against her again. Rendering her immune to this curse the next time.” That seemed.. Hopeful, but then it had to be lifted to begin with. For a long moment the stag stared at her sleeping form.

Gehirn did not understand much of this, at all. He mostly watched along. He didn’t feel like that was a bad thing right now though, he just had different talents than these two.

“Hmmmm.” Altijd murmered as he took on a concentrated expression. “Let’s just break this down. They’re unresolved lives, so someone with a bad outcome. For example, someone who died before completing their goal in life. Or someone who died an unfair way. Perhaps killed and can’t accept that. I suppose, to break that you have to be able to show these figures a different way to think about it, or draw them a different outcome. Make it yourself.” His eye closed upon thought. The stag started coughing, bringing up dark purple tar flooding from the corners of his mouth. “Ergk, sorry. Looks gross no worries.” Altijd said as he wiped it onto his hands, drawing a circle into the sand before him and Herla.
The stag spread the purple goop through the sand, until it looked like a window. The other side completely black. If one would look at the stag’s two open eyes, they could slowly see the black color become purple. Light purple. The color draining from his skin as well slowly. In the dark circle, the image of a small, tiny Neela in the distance appeared, bound to dark nothingness by chains. She was surrounded by ghostly images of deer, runes floating over their body as if they were the only thing keeping them solid.
Gehirn seemed to look over their shoulders now as well. “What’s that? What’s going on there?” The giant asked, raising an eyebrow at it all. “Are they holding Neela down? Can I kick them?” Though Altijd remained quiet, his eye closed. He seemed to let Herla look at the scene properly until he started talking again. “I think those are your ancestors. And I doubt they mean to do this, they are simply fabrications. But powerful ones.” With that, the image disappeared. The stag suddenly threw his head forward, his eyes now light purple, his fur almost greyed out. He breathed heavily now his eye was open again. “Sorry, sorry.” He managed to get out in between wheezing. “I don’t.. Even.. have lungs..” The stag said more to himself than anyone else with a frown on his face.

She nodded to Altijd, she wanted to believe he was right. Neela had a family that loved and cared for her, she wasn’t alone in this, they’d do everything they could raise her right. And keep her safe.

The halo stag’s interpretation of the meaning of the runes sounded right to her when he said it but as to what they could actually do about it, Herla was pretty mystified. She had began to open her mouth to ask just that when Altijd spit up some black goop. She wrinkled her nose despite herself. That didn’t look healthy. She didn’t say anything though, watching closely as he used the black substance to draw something into the dirt, she could sense it had a power of its own, she didn’t know what it was, but she figured it was like blood possibly, it could be strong in spells but also dangerous. She watched a bit warily as he worked what she could feel was a strong magic.

Her attention was soon enough directed towards the window he had made, peering along with Gehirn, the vision of Neela trapped there, in that dark place, the floating ghosts of past lives floating around her made Herla’s heart clench, “It’s so awful,” she partly cried, trying very hard not to lose it, “That’s where she is? Trapped there?” Herla wanted nothing more than to somehow leap through that black window and save her daughter from that dead place. She wished Gehirn simply could go in there and kick away what was holding her there too, but brute force or even brute magic didn’t seem to be a viable option here. She gasped when the scene disappeared taking the vision of Neela away with it.

She would have liked to protest, but Altijd didn’t seem in the best of shape now. It’d been strong magic, it had had its price apparently, “Are you alright?” she asked concerned, he didn’t look so good, “Maybe you should sit down,” her ruby gaze going up to Gehirn, her lips pursed. The does’ ears fell back, feeling slightly bad for asking this next part, but the sight of her daughter trapped in some soul cage haunted her vision, “Can we get back there? Save her?” she asked tentatively. No other time would she ask something so difficult of someone, and Altijd was but a relative stranger. But he was all they had at the moment. “Can we do anything at all?”

It took a little while before he was calmed enough, though he nodded at some of Herla’s questions. He sat down in the grass, rolling his eye before coming back to himself. “I think we can.” Altijd answered, his one eye turning to Herla again. “Well, how?” Gehirn demanded, now involved. If he could get in there somehow and kick butt, this’d all be over. Altijd backed away from him for a moment, as if backing down into the ground. “Well, uhm. I will have to read their stories. I think, or am pretty sure, the runes they carry tell it. If we could read them out, or write them out, we might be well able to enter their story and, give it a better ending? I’m not.. Too sure on how that works, I’ll admit. I haven’t done it before. And I’m going to need a lot of energy to do it too.” He seemed to think for a while, drawing circles absentmindedly into the sand. “I am not sure how to get you out though, unless all the memories are, you know, resolved. Because then the curse should break and you’re free automatically. I’m afraid if we fail I’ll seal you all in too.” At this, Gehirn frowned again, giving him a small snarl. “That’s a lot of insecurity isn’t it.”
Altijd nodded. “I know. I can’t give all the answers. It’s up to you all if you want to give it a try, who wants to come along. I myself am going to need to collect a lot of this stuff.” He said, rubbing a bit of the purple goop between his fingertips. “Which is lifeforce.” He added, glancing at Herla again. He had seen her gaze. “What I think might be a method, is to write all their stories down in your ward circles. Each a circle. Then we can activate them, and you guys can step in them. What happens then is beyond what I can predict. Maybe you get to talk to them, maybe you get to see it unfold, maybe you become them. So for now, I need to collect a lot of lifeforce, and you perhaps need more wards?” He didn’t really know of her collection. “But firstly it’s up to you if this is what you want to do. You know the risks now, I suppose.”

Herla subtly stood between Gehirn and the halo stag when her mate began to growl at Altijd, she shared his impatience but again, an Altijd smeared across the birch wasn’t likely to be very useful to them any longer. She set a water basket before him, not knowing if water was something he could even drink but she felt the need to at least offer him something. He was going through some pretty long lengths to help them after all.

What he was saying they would need to do sounded difficult. And dangerous. But there was no way Herla could turn her back on this of course. She eyed the strange black material he said he would need more of, “Lifeforce? How exactly do you get that? Wait, maybe I don’t want to know,” she might have blanched a bit, worried where that was going. Was murder involved here? How much did Herla care? It was her family, her child they were working to save after all. She’d sacrificed in the past before for them. She’d do it again in a heart beat when push came to shove. She steeled her resolve, “I have more wards. And I can make more. Anything that has been in the family home or a part of the family can be used as well. Personal treasures, personal effects, ” she was looking around at Gehirn and Verve, ” I can use it all to make the protective circles,” she’d soon be pulling out her cooking utensils, grinding stones, and butchering knives to use if needed for ward circles. “I’ll pull out each and everyone of my feathers if need be.”

“It’s not that bad. Sure, I get it from deer that pass away, but I mainly get it from nameless. Nameless are visitors of this realm, and every time they are done visiting they leave the body they used. So I tend to take that force mainly.” He wasn’t going into any shady killing practice. Especially not because he’d likely suck at it. What was he going to do? Bore them to death? Hypnotize them to drown in the pond?

Gehirn seemed a bit uncomfortable at this. It all sounded so wishy washy. And they were trusting this complete stranger with no benefit to this all. Why would he help them? But then again, was everyone always out to do harm? What benefit gave that for him then? “Can I help you with that stuff?” He decided to ask the angel. Who looked at him confused for a moment. “Well. Yes. You could help me hunt some nameless down, and then we follow them until they leave.” Altijd suggested.
In the meantime, Verve looked at Herla. “I could help you with the wards, maybe?” She didn’t want to be the last one feeling useless. And she had plenty of personal posessions.

Altijd nodded again as he got up. “We shouldn’t wait. After all, she can’t eat or drink in this state, and if woden’s superious don’t agree with his decision, they might send someone else after her. Someone has to stay with Neela.” He declared, creating some doubt in Gehirn’s expression, who looked at Herla. “Will you be staying? If anything happens, I’m here in a second.”

Altijd nodded again when everyone seemed to have their tasks, and started to walk off looking for the husks nameless souls carried to check this dimension out. It was odd, he was fairly sure this was one of the few places that allowed souls to look first before they’d choose to descent here. Like some kind of period in which you could decide if you wanted this product or not. A test drive. But it was good for him, easiest way to come by smoke. That wasn’t so easy in the human dimension. Although, more died there… Altijd was woken from his thoughts when Gehirn started talking. “So to get that stuff, do you eat them?” To which Altijd looked puzzled for a moment. “No. I’m sure you’ve seen it, when a nameless leaves they leave a purple smoke behind for a short moment, before it fades. That smoke I take, and my body turns it into the goop. It’s still the same force, just uhm.. Gooped.” He tried to explain, to which the Irish nodded. Sure enough.

Herla listened to Altijd explain how he collected the life force from nameless mostly, still a bit concerned how that all went down. Just waited for them to leave on their own and leave their purple smoke stuff? It seemed hard for her to believe that he wouldn’t somehow be tempted to push things along a little faster at times She wasn’t going to question it though. He was offering to help and that’s what mattered.

Her thoughts had been much along the line of Gehirn’s all through this though. This being offering them such assistance, she very much wanted to believe he did it because he genuinely wanted to help and not some ulterior motive that would lead to further suffering and tragedy to their family. They had just faced such an individual after all, though Herla had had no false impressions, the entity she’d made that deal before was malicious and she had never thought otherwise. She FELT that Altijd meant well and she wanted to trust that feeling. But it was hard, she found she needed to ask, “Altijd,” she hesitated a moment, “Why are you helping us?”

Herla turned and nodded to her step-daughter gratefully when she offered to help with the wards, “Thank you Verve,” her ruby eyes glistened just a little bit but she pushed any tears away, no time for falling to pieces, had to keep going.

A new wave of panic threatened to overwhelm Herla when Altijd reminded them that Neela couldn’t eat or drink in this state. And that others may come for her, her expression earnest when she looked at Gehirn, “Yes I will stay here,” Herla would be hard pressed to leave her daughter’s side right now, “Verve and I will work on the wards, we don’t have to leave the home for that,” she turned to Gehirn lifting her face to him her voice now low and meant only for his ears, “Do what you have to do, and we will here too,” Kill nameless if you have to Gehirn. Herla’s stamp of approval on that.

As the two males left, Herla turned to Neela, checking her to make sure she seemed comfortable, pulling the rabbit furs Verve had brought around her small form. She lifted her eyes to Verve, “Anything that you feel you have a connection to, we can use in the warding,” she told her step–daughter before moving back to the family stash to start pulling out things to use. She literally would throw the kitchen sink in too if needed to make the needed power circles.

Altijd turned when Herla asked him the why question. He had felt that one coming, and had pondered it himself. “Well, if you really want the honest answer.. I guess it might sound rude but. ” The stag sighed, rolling his eye for a moment. “I’m bored. I’ve lived, or well existed really, for thousands and thousands of years. I’ve seen many dimensions, worlds. And years go by so fast, unless you have something exciting to go on. I understand this whole situation is really bad for you guys, your daughter is at stake. I have nothing to lose, to me it’s an adventure with spells and curses, magic-creatures and other individuals. Because let’s face it, everyone’s interesting.” He tried to explain, maybe a little too enthusiastic. He tried to be as honest as can be though. “It’s nice to feel like you’re helping those you see wander about in a way. Otherwise I’m just writing out names. Gets dull.” Gehirn seemed to have his eyebrow raised from the moment he said it was because he was bored. As long as he didn’t go and twist it into something more difficult for his own entertainment then. “But I do really want to help. Bit hard to prove that after you were just betrayed by someone you’ve trusted all your life.. ” He said referring to Woden, scratching his curly beard. “I have nothing to gain from your misery. It’d be more a joy to me to see someone like Neela continue to live.” It was an interesting concept mainly, someone with so many memories. In a way she would’ve likely lived about as long as him.

The stag nodded at his mate when their plans were set, then walked off with the oddball.

As the ‘men’ were gone, Verve quickly ran to her stash to grab some items, then ran back. She really didn’t want to leave Herla and Neela alone. But some items were needed, so she put everything in a cloth she could carry then ran back. “I got a few things.” She said as she laid it out. The first one was the spider trapped in amber she had gotten as a gift from Ephiré. Figured that had meaning enough. A few shells she had gotten from Sterre, the basket that was given by Herla.. Her human skull mask, a few shiny stones given to her as a child, the first antler she ever shed. The list went on for a while. She was a hoarder after all, but these were all items with meaning to her. That was the assignment after all. They were all gifts, or had a personal history. There were dolls, figures, things given to her by the children in Africa. And one she was hesitant about putting down, though she did it anyway. A wooden mask, in the shape if a giraffe’s head, but black with grey markings. She had brought it back from her latest trip. “Perhaps these things are all somewhat big?” She asked, though not all were masks and antlers.

It took quite a while, but finally it seemed Gehirn and Altijd returned. Though Altijd was.. Far from the same. He was being pulled forward by a horn by Gehirn, looked extremely purple and just couldn’t keep his balance. Gehirn threw him on the ground near the group eventually as he just flopped over, his eye rolling in it’s socket. Gehirn frowned. “Well he did warn me.” But damn if it looked weird. His eyes went to Herla and Verve who were likely a bit confused by this scene too. “Apparently the smoke uhm.. Like, some deer use mushrooms to get high, right? The smoke has a similar effect on him. He told me to drag him over here once he’d be out of it and it’d correct itself fairly quickly.” But uh. How long was that, exactly? The odd halo-stag just lolled around like a drunk. “How did the ward making go?” He asked, looking at all the items. His eyes quickly went back to Neela though, worried. Poor girl. This had better work, or someone was going to have his.. Wait, did this guy even have balls?

It took a few minutes but finally the purple stag rolled over, his head swinging from left to right. It seemed as if he was trying to get his balance back. “Is okAayy, just a MooMeenntT..” He muttered as the purple goo overflowed in his mouth, keeping his head back as to not lose any of it. Verve frowned. “Looks fun. I want some of that.” The doe said in a fairly sarcastic tone.
Finally Altijd shook his head a bit more violently and had his eye back in place. “Think that’s better. Okay. Are you ready for this Herla?” He said looking at her again. “I will make a bigger viewscreen. And you and me are going to write down the runes from the spirits as fast as we can, so we preserve enough lifeforce. Then we use what I have left to activate the first. I am thinking we should get them all at once, so I can activate them without you guys having to go in and out in-between. Just saves time. But, again, if we can’t solve the first, I can’t get you out. And if you CAN solve the first, then you’ll want to solve the rest too.” That seemed logical to him, anyway. Even if it was hard, these parents weren’t going to give up. “I will stay here, outside. I can’t come with you. Then we’d be stuck for sure.” Who was going to control the curse otherwise? “That might mean I need a guard because I’ll be rendered immobile. I could hope to trust the friendliness of this place, but with the Fae’s being a little hostile we might not want to risk that. Of course, your bodies will also stay in this place, it’s your soul that travels. Like Neela’s. You’ll be asleep.” Not dead. Just making that clear.

Herla listened mostly silent as Altijd explained his motivations for helping them, he seemed open and honest in his explanation and she had a hard time finding any hint of deception or ill will in it. In some ways he reminded her of Woden, he clearly was indeed an old thing that had lived a very long time, could such beings ever be completely trusted, could their true motivations ever be fully grasped? It obviously couldn’t be with Woden. But Woden had always been reserved with her. Impersonal even. His visits often sparse and intense, actual discussions or conversations with him had been rare and brief. Woden made sure that she learned my lessons well but he was never a confidante or guardian. But an individual didn’t have to be ancient to be difficult to predict or understand that was always true. “I hope we continue to be…interesting to you then,” Herla responded, not wanting to sound ungrateful or doubtful though, she added, “In the end you will have our gratitude if Neela can be returned to us and our family remains whole.”

While Verve was away to collect items, Herla dragged out everything she could think of as well, the skull painted for her by Verve, the grinding stone that had been the symbolic representation of the home in her wedding to Gehirn, the jewelry given to her by the people of India, the seashells Ciel had brought her back from the sea, all the ward stones collected for the protection of the twins, and even the flint-knapped knife collection she used for butchering animals as well as her cooking baskets and utensils. She’d began to create circles with them when Verve arrived back with her own collection, she inspected them nodding approvingly, “It’s all perfect. They have meaning to you and you are a part of this family, it doesn’t matter the size, large or small, they can all hold magic and intent,” she directed her step daughter in further laying out circles, the small doe then walking the power circles, feeding them with her own magic to activate them, it took time and concentration. The small doe would stop occasionally to check on Neela then muster herself to work on channeling magic into the wards and circles.

Herla’s own magic had grown stronger as she’d gotten older, a noticeable surge after her first pregnancy and then with her second. Unbeknownst to her though, the travel to India and leaving the forest had unleashed many latent Fae abilities, she’d never would have been able to power all these circles with such ease in her younger years.

Herla looked startled at first when Gehirn arrived back, dragging along Altijd with him, the halo stag’s faltering gait making her think he’d been injured. Had Gehirn pummeled him for some reason? Her ears fell back when her mate explained what was going on and she watched Altijd warily for a while. Memories of other’s altered by drugs and then doing her harm as a result, keeping her cautious. “Verve helped me, we have the circles ready,” she told her mate. Perhaps things looked a bit odd spread out all over the home and surrounding area, but magically it all interwove quite well.

Finally the halo stag seemed to get his head screwed back on properly and as he spoke, her confidence in him began to return, though she had to admit, it all intimidated her quite a lot. There were so many uncertainties but with no other plan before them they had to go ahead and go quickly, “I am ready, it’s not like we have much choice,” she looked down at Neela her brows knitted together in worry, “If she can’t eat or drink or take her medicine, she won’t last long,” perhaps a few days Herla thought at most, “I cannot think Woden could ever be this callus. This cruel. He forgets the needs of mortals and the delicacy of their lives though,” Herla swallowed hard, looking up to her mate then to Altijd, “I’m ready,” she told him trying to sound confident now. She looked up to her step-daughter, “Will you watch over us?” she asked, her knowing it was a lot to ask, and perhaps an even unfair pressure. If Woden returned or any other powerful Fae, she likely wouldn’t be able to hold them off either.

Things seemed to go quickly from then on it seemed. A direction to go in, something to work on to try and solve this problem. Herla tried not to look at Neela too much or to just to see her as sleeping. Peacefully. Nothing wrong with her. They’d finish this work and she’d wake up again and everything would be fine. She tried not to think of her daughter alone in that dark place, haunted.

They wrote the stories, secure within the power circles, much of it not understandable to Herla, it would take longer to translate the ruins but the stories understood themselves and their power unfurled about her all tugging strangely at her and parts of her mind she hadn’t really been aware of, was this how it was for Neela?

When they were ready and they had guards to watch over them in this place, Altijd opened the way for them to go inside. Herla wrapped around her daughter, leaving her body there to keep her child warm. The transition was a little like passing through Qian’s portal, disorientating, blinding flashes of light. In other ways it was nothing like that at all. When she opened her eyes, she was still laying there wrapped around Neela, but it was as Altijd had shown them in the window. It was a dark place, not cold, but also not warm. Sort of empty feeling. And all about shimmering shades moved about, some of them talking or trying to talk but even when she tried to listen it seemed impossible to hear what they said.

She stood, staying close to Neela, looking about her for the others who had come. The shades milled about, seeming unaware really of her presence, locked in patterns that made little sense to her. Impossible to sort out.

Out of the darkness though, stepped something more solid. A glowing white form that made Herla squint when she tried to look directly at it. The shades seem to separate to allow it through, not shirking from it but respectfully making way.

The glow lessened by a few degrees as it neared and coalesced into the form of a doe. She stepped toward them on long elegant legs, a queenly crown of delicate thin feathers adorning her head.

Her gaze went over the newcomers before settling on Herla and Neela, “My children,” she said, “I’m glad you have come.”

He wouldn't say it out loud nor let it be noticed, but this was kind of fun for him. Of course it was going to cause him pain as soon as he had to put all those souls under a similar curse to get them in Neela's memories, but it was better than living eternally in some kind of daze. Now he had new memories to make, new things to think back and chuckle to in a thousand years. There were so little of those moments left in his mind.

The portal had to be far larger this time around, but it seemed the stag managed with relative ease. His purple color faded only slightly. Perhaps his halo had grown a little wider, spinning a little faster. But sure enough the 'adventurers' had stepped in, letting the big black hole disappear again. His guards remained as all his eyes closed, and he became unresponsive.

The large stag stepped through the portal, together with his wife and the others. Verve had, after a lot of thought, also decided to come with them instead of guarding. This was somehow appealing. And she didn't want to miss out on another trip, so to speak.
The others with Altijd though could watch with him through some kind of small portal, that wasn't accessible. It looked down on the others.

"What is this place." Was the first thing to come out of Gehirn's mouth as he looked around. Then his eye fell on the bright figure as well. Who the heck was this? "Children?" He asked, an eyebrow raised. And why was she glad? This was a pretty shitty situation. So the giant frowned as he seemed to leave the talking to the rest.

High above, behind them, opened a massive eye. The pupil turned to look at the group, then at the light figure. "Ah, well, hello!" Came a voice from everywhere and nowhere. Altijd's, obviously. "Didn't really expect there to be anyone here. My name is Hamaliel, I am guiding this group through their child's memories to help lift this curse." He explained, whilst Gehirn looked around to find where the heck his voice was coming from. Only to do a little jump at the sight of the massive eye holing up in the sky. His head quickly turned back to the white doe though. "Who're you?"

Danu’s white feathered head turned to the giant red antlered stag when he addressed her, her expression slightly bemused, but mostly calm and unworried, “We are in Neela’s mind,” she told him, “But she’s sleeping so it’s dark right now,” she frowned momentarily, looking at the fawn looking so frail where she slept. “She needs help, something has happened. We are all trapped now,” she looked around at the glimmering shades, “Me and all my children.”

A voice from around them might have startled the others but Danu looked unphased, peering up with a serene look of gentle interest at the detached voice of Altijd, “Hamaliel?” a note of surprise entered her voice, “I am honored to meet you, truly,” she said to the giant eye before looking back at Herla, “Well daughter, you have garnered strong allies now indeed, the angels have come to help you. I wondered how you managed to come here.”

She turned to Gehirn when he asked who she was, “I’m Danu,” she stated simply. “Who are you?” she asked, tilting her head, studying the large stag now it seemed.

“Are you my mother?” Asked Herla now, the white does’ appearance triggering some latent memory in her.

“Yes, in a way. I am The Mother,” she smiled gently, “The mother of your mother and all the mother’s that came before you. The First Mother. I like better to sleep, the years have grown so heavy, but when Neela was born, I started to wake again, and to remember how lovely living was. I don’t like being trapped here like this. In the darkness. And Neela is dying now,” her placid manner cracked just a little as she looked down on Neela with real concern, “We have a lot of work to do, but I will help you. It will be alright, we have the angel too.” The white doe seemed so certain.

Gehirn continued to be fairly confused.. But his eyes quickly focussed on Neela, stepping over to her, watching the shadows surrounding her. Binding her. It made him feel powerless once more, he didn't understand how they were going to help her by doing this. By standing in darkness?

The disembodied voice chuckled, his eyelids contracting for a moment in a gleeful expression. "Been a while since someone called me an angel." He put an odd emphasis on the word, and for a small moment a giant whirring of wheels spun around the eye, fading as fast as they had appeared. Only a wisp of wind left of their sudden being. "Likewise though, Danu. We have heard much of the mothers of Fae. It seems odd we meet under these circumstances of all, but we'll try to assist." He seemed to be pretty entertained, his form outside of the memories carrying a grin now. Of course, not very visible when you're a floating eye. This story had all kinds of twists and turns.

Gehirn's face turned back to Danu upon the question. "Gehirn. I am Neela’s father. " For a moment he wished he had a fancy title. He was just Gehirn. But he made Neela and she seemed pretty awesome. He looked at Herla upon her question.

Altijd again chuckled at the word angel. "Aren't you happy to have me. Now let's see." He said as his pupil turned to one of the shadows connected to Neela. The antlers betraying this was a male. "This is your father, Herla. His name is Amergin. He's holding Neela down because he's kind of unhappy how things went for him." The large red antlered stag seemed to step towards the shadow, taking a look. It did seem to writhe around in some form of not so happiness. "What do we do about it?" Gehirn asked, turning to look at the floating eye. "Well." Altijd started. "I'm sure Danu can explain the details better, but what I'll do is open his memory. You guys go in it. You make his memory better. Each of you gets to be a part of his memory, you will be characters in it so to say. It's up to you to give it a better ending. You get the memories of the person you are, too. You are them. Ah, it's hard to explain without experiencing it." He seemed to let out another small chuckle. "Perhaps Danu can give you more information about the situation with Amergin itself. Your roles figure themselves out when you step in. Some of you their recollection of themselves will be stronger than others, who might get buried further into their new role."

Danu’s smile grew when she saw the glint of the rolling Throne in Altijd’s eye, “I remember the Angels, they were so pretty,” she nodded, “The World is not as it once was and I have slept long, but it’s good to know there are still some of us around. Those who saw the world when it was born.”

Danu studied Gehirn after he declared who he was for a long moment, before she nodded her head in seeming approval, “Yes, good” she turned to Herla, “I approve. You’ve done well, daughter,” the Penultimate Ancestor. The Penultimate Mother-in-Law.

Herla blinked, “Thanks, I think so to,” this was all rather surreal really. She wasn’t sure how to respond. This was her ancestor, the whole thing was quickly becoming pretty overwhelming to wrap her mind around but at the center there was Neela and she needed help. She’d find a place to put all this in her mind later.

Altijd was speaking now, pointing out one of the shades. Her father? Ruby eyes grew wide as they lay upon the shade, and though his form was indistinct, it seemed familiar at the same time, a glimmer of memory surfacing. “I never remembered him,” she said, a bit of the emotion seeping into her voice.

Danu nodded as Altijd spoke, “I’ll help guide you too, appear where I can. You won’t forget who you are but it can still be disorientating none the less. You’ll know me when I appear. And you will know each other as well. Use the knowledge of the memories you will have and your own wisdom to help these souls.”

“When you are ready, Altijd, we can begin,” she told the angel, “And the rest of you too of course. This first step is a doozy. Here goes…”

When Herla awoke, her vision was blurry at first, it took a while for the world to materialize around her like a dream. Or a memory. She stood before a massive old oak, symbols carved into it’s gnarly twisted bark. Light filtered through the leaves above it, a wide clearing surrounding it where little grew in its shadow. At her feet was a fawn, clinging to her leg, looking up at her with bright expectant red eyes. Vasana? Even as the thought struck her though, she knew it was not so. This was not Vasana this was herself. As a child. And she was Elandria. Her mother. The knowledge was a certainty.

From the forest came a large stag, dark brown pelt, his face a brown skull etched with swirling ruins. Where he stepped greenery sprouted in brief spurts to just as quickly fade away as his hoof withdrew to step ahead where another patch of green would briefly flair. He came to stand before them beside the twisted oak, his gaze steady. Calm.

“Woden,” said the white doe, her voice sorrow laced, “Thank you for coming,” though she had now in this moment perhaps wished that he hadn’t, that when she’d come to the Summoning Oak, her call would go unheard and she could pretend just a little longer that she could keep her daughter.

But even now, she could hear it. The thunder still distant, grew ever closer. It wouldn’t be long now. The Wild Hunt would sweep down upon her soon enough and she would be lost to it once again. Selfishly she wanted to keep her daughter with her, but if there was a way for her to live free of the hunt Elandria would give her that. There’d been no time to talk to Amergin. Or perhaps she’d not made the time. Wanted every last one of their last moments together to be happy ones. Unsullied by a destiny that could not be changed. She had left him while he slept, leaving next to him the opal stone he had given to her what seemed so long before. That and one of her white feathers. And one of Herla’s.

The distant thunder had plagued her dreams as well as her waking hours. Growing closer day by day. She’d seen Herla listening to it too. Her little head cocked to one side, stopping mid-play to listen. “It’s nothing darling,” she’d reassured her, “Don’t you worry about it.”

Woden stood waiting now. Unhurried as the oldest of Fay often were. She knew how quickly they could be roused to lightening fast action but the lull of calm about him was a reassurance to her now. She could trust him.

“It’s time, she has to go now,” she told the stag.

Ephiré had arrived a while after Woden's attack on Neela. He mostly kept to the background, listening intently on everything that was said and done. Feeling like it was a rather personal thing for the family, he wasn't sure how much help he could be, but if they asked he would do whatever he could. The more detached part of him watched it all with a sort of indifferent interest, an interesting problem that had yet to be solved; but he did his best to push that part back. Neela was dear to him; the small fawn had, of course like all of Herla's children, charmed her way into his heart despite his attempts to avoid it.

Altijd, the strange being that seemed to be in charge of the whole thing, was another interesting turn of events he hadn't anticipated. It wasn't really the best opportunity for conversation, but perhaps he would seek out the halo-adorned being at a later time. For now, he was content with just watching the angel from behind his dark skull.

The entry into Neela's mind wasn't unfamiliar to him; the procedure reminded him of other times and places he had either seen or done it himself. Not the same way; Altijd's magic seemed somehow different from his own, but he could see the similarities. He bowed his head to the white doe Danu when she appeared, feeling the power she emanated.

Altijd made another sound that echo’d the space, a chuckle most likely. “Pretty? I suppose I shall feel flattered. Yes, there are still some.” He answered, the sound of whirring gears in the distance. “Most taken by madness I imagine. But that’s for another time!” His tone of voice went from serious to jovial in a matter of seconds again. Perhaps there was something ‘mad’ about him too.

Gehirn seemed to raise an eyebrow as he was being studied by the white doe. Good? He turned to look at Herla in confusion for a moment. “I’m approved? Alright, thank you?” He looked at her a little questioningly but wouldn’t word it.

The halo-stag kept fairly silent to those who were silent to him, perhaps a form of respect from an age long past. But he knew Ephiré. Even if perhaps they had never met, Altijd had seen him before. He wasn’t sure if it was this place or, possibly another. That was always the question. But it was entertaining to him, old faces. Faces that had seen a lot, perhaps too much if you asked some. But they had stories, and he loved those. So he kept an eye on the raven stag.

“Ah.” Altijd echo’d as Herla admitted she never remembered her father. “He missed you, I can say that.” He explained, then let Danu do the talking. The eye blinked when she turned back to him. He would give a nod but, as a floating eye that wasn’t the most visible thing.

With loud whirring as if chains spun around each other at high velocity, the environment changed. Loud winds enveloped the group, throwing abou the black abyss around them. Gehirn almost felt sick as he thought he was thrown aside, his vision blackening. It felt like forever when he opened his eyes again.

It took a while for his eyes to adjust. He heard birds chirping, it was obviously sunny. Something was definitely amiss though. And he tried to figure out in his haze what his mind was missing. Where was his mate.. His daughter..? Red eyes blinked as he lifted a head with sleek tines on his skull. For a moment he remembered this was normally a lot harder, but the moment was gone as quick as it had come.

The angel, outside of the others their minds, placed them down like a puzzle. Gehirn in the mind of Amergin, Herla in her mother’s, Elandria. But there were more roles to be played. He looked at his players before placing Ephiré in Woden’s. The raven-stag was a lot more powerful than the other players, Altijd realized this. He’d likely be less easily fooled in his role. He would be the one to assist Elandria, taking Herla away. There were a few paths the stag could take that perhaps Woden had not. Altijd had to think about these for a moment. Where had it actually gone wrong? What would have calmed Amergin? Stopped him from wandering forever? There were a few things he had to remind Ephiré of as he placed him. Where the endless forest was from his location, and that Amergin could not follow. For he could possibly break the protective barrier the forest formed for his daughter, away from the wild hunt. He was no ordinary deer after all either, a cursed human more so.

And perhaps there he placed the last player, Verve, as a friend of Amergin’s. It was a bit of an odd picking because the role was that of a male. But he had no options left for now. This would do. And so the doe would woke up in the body of a silverish colored stag, with brown tines on her head. Or his. His name was Crevan. He found himself in the same confusion for a moment as Amergin had. But he didn’t find something was missing. Something was added? Uhm. Why did he even think that.

Ciel had been accompanying the older of his two younger brothers, telling him of his stay in the village. Although, a thought had occurred to him as Johan had simply expressed that he was happy to have his big brother home; did the younger buck even know that they weren’t related by blood? Rather, the kindness of Herla’s and Gehirn’s heart when they had taken him in as their own. Ciel would have thought it obvious, given that he looked nothing like either parent. However, Johan wasn’t terribly bright in some matters, maybe this was one of them. Initially, the pair was in no rush to get back to their parents, simply meandering beneath the gnarled canopy, the dappled sunlight dancing across their backs.

However, as they followed the scents of their family, the sight that met them was truly alarming. Their family seemed to be in a state of disarray, and the information that were gathering as they generally kept to the background, save for peering over a few shoulders to see what they heck was coming out of this weird strangers mouth, was shocking to say the least. As the family began to be swallowed into the darkness of what seemed to be a fathomless pit, Ciel straightened up to look at his younger brother. “Johan, stay here. Someone needs to stand as a guard.” Although Johan opened his mouth to protest, he shut it quickly upon catching his older brother glaring at him. “Don’t let anyone get too close.” Nodding, the buck watched as Ciel stepped into the window.

Ciel found himself standing behind his family, an ethereal doe in front of them. Where on earth were they? Were they even on earth at all?

Herla would perhaps later feel bad about paying less attention to what went on around them when they were frantically talking with Altijd trying to formulate a plan for helping Neela. She’d only been marginally aware when Ephire had appeared, and then Ciel with Johan in tow. Her gratitude went unspoken when Ephire and Verve joined them on the “journey” and had silent thanks as well for the courage of her young son, staying behind to guard their bodies. Proper thank yous would be spoken later.

Herla was still blinking too when Gehirn gave her his confused look over Danu’s statement about him, “I guess I get to keep you,” she told him, just the smallest of smiles on her face, though it couldn’t over shadow the strain about her eyes. Her gaze followed the glowing white doe who had directed her attention now to Ephire, Danu giving the raven stag a respectful inclination of her feathered head. In turn she inclined again to Altijd’s eye above them and back to the red antlered Irish and then the black and white stag.. “Angels AND Gods here to help you daughter. A strong husband and a devoted son at your side. The family has done well. I’m proud,” despite the white does’ ice colored eyes, they appeared filled with warmth.

Herla studied the shade of her father when Altijd had pointed it out, “He missed me?” she asked bewildered, looking at the faces around her as if she could find an answer there, “Why didn’t he come find me then? Why didn’t my mother?”

Danu answered then, “He did. He never stopped searching. For you or your mother. She gave you up to save you from the Wild Hunt, something she herself couldn’t be saved from. Your father never knew the reason why though. He never knew what happened to his wife and child. He never found peace. And that’s why his ghost is here now holding Neela down,” the white does’ gaze had gone around now to all that where gathered, “To help the child, this story must be changed. Amergin cannot be given his mate and daughter back, that is irrevocable. But closure is still possible. The reason why.”

Herla stood next to her infant self as Elandria feeling every kind of conflict imaginable. Elandria’s motivations, her reasoning’s, they were all there in her mind like they were her own thoughts, only distant as in a dream. Herla could not divorce herself from her own feelings as well. Her mother was giving her away! To this cold and distant being who would be her only guardian as she grew up, taken from her father. Her mother.

Yet she was doing as only she could, she heard herself talking, her voice coming out not as her own but as this stranger. Her mother, “You have to go with this stag now. He is my friend. Your friend. He will keep you safe,” she looked down at herself, wide trusting eyes nodding their acceptance of her mother’s words. Would she ever have been this strong herself if faced with this situation? Given her child away? But what of Amergin? The duality struck Herla again. She would never have been able to do that. Leave Gehirn behind, take his child, never tell him why? Urgency struck Herla and Elandria lifted her face to Woden now, Herla spoke urging the words forth from Elandria’s mouth, “Can you tell him for me Woden?” the tears welling up in her eyes as the hunt’s growing cacophony grew ever closer, “Somehow, someway, can you tell Amergin why I did it?”

When Danu mentioned both gods and angels, the stag's ears went backwards a tiny amount. None of the people present knew what he really was, or if they did, they had never mentioned anything. He hoped they would just think of the Twin Gods when the Fae mentioned a god.
It was a strange feeling, to place have his mind placed in another body. He could feel it cover him like a shell; he was still Ephiré, but outside, someone else; he felt detached, as if he was just a spectator and not a player – the body was not ill-fitted, but unfamiliar, while the feeling of detachedness was not.
It took a few moments for him to acquaintance himself with it, the being Woden. Knowledge of what he had to do filled him with a steady trickle and he listened quietly while Elandria softly spoke to her daughter. It must be strange, he mused, to talk to your younger self like that. He could hear the far-off rumbling of the Hunt as well as the white doe in front of him could, and felt her urgency reverberate through himself, but the sound had no influence over him.
“Yes,” he mumbled softly, inwards startled for a second by how smooth his voice seemed to be. “I will tell him.” He felt himself extend a sense of... protection around the little dark fawn, to shield her from the now quickly growing noise on the horizon. “Farewell, Elandria,” he said, bowing his head.

His eyes looked down at the two feathers in front of him, together with an opal gemstone. A small peacock feather, one of his daughter, Herla’s. And a long, white feather of Elandria. He was sure, he could smell it on them. What did that mean? Why would they pluck out one feather and leave it? Put a gem down with it? Carefully he picked the feathers and the gem up between his lips, and lifted himself up. Amergin paused, looking around for a moment. No sign of his daughter or mate. Did they leave, perhaps..? Did they go for breakfast at the water?

The stag started walking in the direction of the river, a place they stopped by daily to drink. A place he knew without a doubt, even if a voice in the back of his mind seemed awfully confused about it. The dark’s stags steps became more frustrated in time, as if he was doubting himself about the normality of the situation. Really, he’d just find them at the river, no biggy. But something was off. “Hey!” A voice called out to him, making his ears jump up in the direction of the sound. “Whadyou got those two feathers in your snout for?” The other male asked, pointing curiously at the two feathers sticking from Amergin’s lips. Crevan frowned. “S’that Elandria’s?” The younger male tried to inspect, but Amergin pulled his head back. Twarting his attempt. “Yes. Have you seen her? ” Crevan shook his head in answer, locking his eyes with Amergin’s for a moment.
And in that second, the whole façade fell for just a moment. There was just Verve and Gehirn standing there, locking eyes, recognizing each other before the whole scene came back together. Like nothing happened. They were friends now, comrades from the war. “Did you loose her?” The younger one asked, his green eyes staring up to the black stag. “I can’t find them. Help me look.”
Crevan shrugged, turning to look at his other mates who were mostly just hanging around, waking up slowly for the morning. Crevan looked at them as Amergin trotted further again. “Hey wusses, time to get off your asses and help Amergin.” He said in a mocking tone, getting some annoyed grunts in reply from the other males.

Altijd simply stared at the scene, his eye moving from one figure to the other rapidly, changing the ‘screen’ around him. He looked at each individual from his position high in the sky as this lone flying eye, though nobody could see or hear him. None of the players, that was. He placed Ciel in the bodies of one of the other males Verve was with. Someone older than Verve’s body. The angel watched the scene develop in silence, or, something akin to silence. He was thinking out loud, the whirring sound of invisible wheels betraying him. They clicked, spun, changed pitch and speed. He was puzzling this out to himself, as he was pretty sure nobody else spoke the language of spinnies. Not that that wouldn’t be amusing.
His eye turned to Danu every once in a while, no doubt she was keeping check on things as well, and likely she played the invisible role too.

It took him a long time of wandering, but finally the black stag arrived at a very peculiar tree. An oak, symbols carved into the bark. It was old, obviously. Amergin put down the feathers and the gem in front of the tree, sniffing the ground around the tree to catch the scent he had been following again. They had been here, they could not be far. “Elandria?! Herla!?” He called out, frustrated and lost now. He’d definitely give them a piece of his mind would he find them. Elandria that is. Making him worry like this. At the smallest of sound his head turned so violently Crevan could’ve sworn it was coming off. “Sorry, just us.” He said, shrugging his deer shoulders as the others followed him. “Couldn’t find anything so far. Did your trail lead anywhere?” He asked, watching Amergin turn his face to the tree. “No. It seems to end here. But they should be nearby.”

For a moment as Herla looked out through the eyes of her mother, she saw the tall figure of Ephire standing in the place of Woden. The fleeting vision reminded her of the scene’s dream like quality but the encroaching sound of the Wild Hunt as it boiled across the sky toward her didn’t lose any of its immediacy. “Thank you,” she told the Old Fae as she watched her infant daughter leave her side, Woden’s magic wrapping around her like a protective shield. Elandria felt her own connection to her strain almost painfully but that couldn’t be helped. It had to be broken or the child would be pulled into The Hunt as well. “I’m so sorry,” she murmured. Woden didn’t need any further prodding from her it seemed, he was already walking with Herla past the Summoning Tree, fading into the dappled sunlight the great oak’s leaves filtered. They crossed into Fairy and the bond was severed. Elandria choked on a sob. The mother couldn’t grieve long though, The Wild Hunt had arrived. Elandria was lost.

Danu had gone with them. She watched too. A creamy white barn owl perched in the trees, observing the scene with Herla, Elandria and Woden, whilst simultaneously the same owl watched a sleeping Amergin awake to find his family missing. Perhaps someday, the magic of the Fae and other entities would be explained by some higher understanding of quantum physics, but then it would be science and not magic, all Danu knew was that time and space meant little to her and she navigated it as easily as one might walk to another room.

It might catch the eye of some, an owl about in the day when they would usually be sleeping, but she moved on silent wings, the gift of all owls, to fly without a sound. These scenes took a lot of magic to delve into, the Goddess lifted her head to the sky, seeing the Angel there holding this vision together, she added what she could, not without strength of her own. Perhaps once upon a time she’d been able to do such a feat completely on her own. Danu tried not to think of this too deeply though. She knew in reality she was merely a phantom of her true self. That which had survived in the memories of a tiny fragile fawn. Belief was key to the working of any Fae’s magic though, doubt could not be entertained.

The owl followed the dark stag on her silent wings, watching the scene as he gathered with his comrades. She could see in them the humans they had once been, a band of Roman soldiers, pushing into the North, on a mission to secure a stronghold for their mighty nation in the land of the barbarians. Those barbarians where deeply tied to the land magics though and they had fought back, sending a witch. She had cursed the soldiers into the form of stags, and now they were barbarians themselves and could never go back to their previous lives.

Danu subtly guided the Father. Nudging a bit here or there when he might have floundered or lost the trail. Not all could sense the Summoning Tree’s humming magic, so she would provide what guidance she could. Alighting within the branches of the massive oak, she watched the soldiers gather around their friend, Herla and Elandria long gone, the echoing thunder of the hunt fading into the horizon. This was the time and place their fate could be revealed.

Altijd kept an eye on the owl, of course. He had many eyes to spare. In a way, he was very interested in her stories, what she’d have to tell. She had lived for a long, long time too after all. There were little others who understood this. But there had been no time for elaborate chatting, and silently he wondered if there ever would be. What would become of the doe once they freed Neela? She only lived in her mind, of course. Was only awakened because of the curse. With the curse gone, would she disappear?

Amergin had not noticed any of the subtile pushes he had been receiving. The owl didn’t really catch his attention, as if his head wanted to turn away whenever he possibly looked at her.
Crevan inspected the feathers and gemstone now he had the chance, picking up the gemstone especially. It had gotten a little dirty, going from Amergin’s mouth to the dusty ground. Ew. So he plopped it in the water at the summoning tree. To clean it, really. “Look, it’s prettier now.” He said, making Amergin look up from his track searching. “What is looking what?” Amergin asked, as Crevan stepped aside to show him the little water ‘basket’ connected to the tree. The water had started glowing oddly, making Amergin and the other males trot over pretty quickly. “What did you do this time numbskull?” The black stag said pretty harshly, bumping Crevan aside. He wasn’t sure what had happened, but the stone had put –something- in motion. But what exactly?

The creamy colored owl smiled silently to herself when one of the soldiers put the opal into the Summoning Tree fountain. The tree itself was a magical nexus of sorts, a thin spot in the veil that separated this world from the land of Fairy, a place where crossing between worlds was easier managed. The Glamour that was the strongest magic of the Fae relied on belief at its core and it went hand in hand with intent, the driving will behind it. Amergin and his comrades sought the missing doe and child, the tree responded to that. The flat mirror like surface of the tree’s pool became almost opalescent in color seeming to take on the form of the gem. Danu flutters approvingly within the trees branches. Good.

The pool’s surface returned to mirror-like only it was not the reflection of those gathered around it, it showed. A silent scene ripples across its surface. A white feathered doe with an infant black fawn at her side enter the tree’s glade, a stag of pulsing orange shimmers into being before them, the doe looking urgent prods her child forward to the stag, who takes the child with him right through the tree it appears. Elandria, alone now, looks to the sky tears in her eyes, her feathers whipping in some unseen wind. Her almost white eyes turn to peer for a moment right through the fountain at the viewers watching, almost as if she can see them too. The gaze is brief though, the invisible wind, buffeting her stronger. She appears to leap into the sky itself and is gone. The pool’s reflection only shows the gathered soldiers once again.

The other males tried to take in a peek as Amergin and Crevan stared at the color changing water. The images of Elandria, Herla and Woden puzzling them. And when the images stopped, Crevan was the first to speak up. “What was that?” He asked, looking at Amergin who continued to stare at his reflection. “Did she just give away little Herla to that guy and then left?” He asked innocently. Amergin turned now, glaring the buck down. This all didn’t make sense. “Why would she do that?” He asked himself out loud, turning away from the water. “Maybe because of the wild hunt?” One of the other soldiers asked, Amergin shaking his head in reply. “She’s been without the call for so long now, and why would she not tell me?” Why would she hand their child over like that? Why not let him say goodbye then? “Maybe he forced her.” His tone became dark, then, causing the others their ears to fall flat against their skull.
“I need to find her.” Amergin suddenly said to break the silence, turning away from the other men. “They can’t be far, I could still find Herla. She is MY daughter, she should be with me!” The stag almost snarled, and none of the men seemed to dare speak up against him.
Even Crevan stayed silent. Or, well, he would have, had he not reminded himself he wasn’t Crevan. Things could go differently. They didn’t need to let Amergin storm off so he would be searching for the rest of his life. “No, wait, Amergin.” The young stag spoke up, making Amergin’s head turn. “I don’t have time for this Crevan, each minut-“ But the buck stopped him. “You don’t know where they’ve gone. Maybe this tree can tell us more if we give it Herla’s feather.” Crevan suggested, already lifting the small green peacock feather with his lips, holding it above the water. “Come here. If it gives us a direction you’ll find them easier. You know just as well starting a blind search is unwise.”
Amergin frowned, almost about to throw the advice aside. He could track them down in different ways. Even if it was odd there were no tracks.. Was the stag erasing them? “Fine.” He answered, with as much Amergin as Gehirn in his heart. Both hot-headed, both stubborn. And with that, Crevan dropped the peacock feather in the water as well, and the stags watched the surface for any kind of hint of where Herla had been taken. If it even worked that way, Verve silently thought. She had only caught onto so much, but knew she had to prevent Amergin from running off.

There was a not unusual feeling of detachment as he could feel and see himself as Woden leading the young Herla deep into the realm of Fae. He mumbled soft words for encouragement and safety; perhaps she heard them, perhaps she didn't. The words carried faint magic to make them true.

Later, when Herla was safely tucked away, hidden in a secret place only he knew of and left with a word of calm and sleep, he could feel a strange tug in the ward placed around the small fawn. Reinforcing it, the Woden part of the Ephiré/Woden being immediately knew where it came from. ”I will be back soon, little Herla,” he murmured, taking the familiar shape of a raven. With a sharp beak he tore an opening in the realm of Fae and with powerful wingbeats he flew through the worlds from one place to another. Upon arrival, the opening closed itself again, leaving him in a cloud of mist on a branch close to the Summoning Tree. He could see deer there; and felt the tug of Summoning stronger here. His ward didn't let the urge through to Herla; instead he came as a substitute. Without a sound, the raven swept down from his perch, closing in on the small group gathered and changed back into Woden's shape before landing on the ground.

”Amergin,” came his voice from inside the dark skull. ”Your summoning did not go unheard.”

When Herla’s feather was added to the pool, Danu’s brows knitted together in consternation if such a thing could be visible upon an owl’s visage. Herla could not be allowed to be summoned, if she returned to this place now, the Wild Hunt would sweep her away almost immediately. The Goddess fluttered her dismay when the veil between worlds begin to tear, she stilled though and let out an owly puff of breath when it was Woden who stepped through the rift at the beckoning and not the infant Herla. She saw quite easily the dual beings that resided there both quite powerful in their own right.

When a stag landed instead of a bird, Crevan’s mouth fell open. The other men though, stepped back. Only Amergin’s expression became a frown, turning quite fast on his hooves towards the stag. Of course he recognized him. “WHERE is my DAUGHTER?” He yelled, quick to conclusions. This stag had led her off. This stag would know, whatever his name. And in the smallest of seconds did the covers fall again, where it really was just Ephiré, Gehirn, Verve and Ciel standing amongst each other in a dark environment. And in that moment, Gehirn got the chance to calm down again as well. It was really hard not to get dragged into Amergin entirely, especially because the situation felt so familiar. He could identify with him a little too well. “Where has Elandria gone?” He continued his questioning, perhaps now less screaming toned. He feared the answer to that one.

Verve stayed silent now, not really sure what she could bring into the situation. She stepped back to stay close to Ciel this time around. Whatever was going to happen now could potentially seal Amergin’s fate, after all. She remembered they had to change the story, but did not know in detail how it really went. It worried her. She definitely didn’t plan on staying like some guy in a world for the rest of her life.

Ephiré felt great sadness for the stag, the emotion seeping through the shield of emotional numbness he wore. The idea of losing someone dear was a familiar one; never a child, but countless others. For a moment, he could see Gehirn in there, and, in a way, see the stag's own fears about losing his dearest ones. A crack in the detachedness, and when he spoke next, it colored his words.
”Elandria is gone,” he said, words heavy. ”The Wild Hunt took her. It would have taken your daughter too, if Elandria hadn't come to me for help. It was too strong and the pull was too close for me to help the doe herself, but your daughter is safe in the realm of Fae... but only there.” The unspoken words hung heavy in the air – Herla would be taken too if she crossed the border to this world.

”Do not attempt to call her back. She will be swept away by the Hunt's tide, and no power will be able to save her then.”

Amergin’s face spelled out the emotions he felt. Disbelief, shock. Hurt. Then he frowned and shook his head. “Why didn’t she tell me? She must’ve seen this coming.” His eyes went to the one feather left, Elandria’s. “There was no reason for her not to tell me.” Maybe she hadn’t really cared. Perhaps that was all on his head.
The black stag stood lost for a moment, his friends watching on in silence. Crevan turned to look at Woden then. “Can you take him to the border? To say goodbye to her?” He wasn’t entirely sure how that border worked. If they could go through it or not. Or if you could see someone else on the other side. But it was worth a try. Amergin looked at his friend for a moment before turning to Woden, waiting on the answer perhaps. His gaze could be described as pleading at this point. He hadn’t had a chance to say farewell to Elandria, but perhaps his daughter was still an option.
Deep inside he was angry though, with the white doe. She just hadn’t taken him in account at all.

Danu watched the scene, tilting her head in a very owlish way, already she could feel that things had been changed. Amergin was not happy, it would have been hard to ever make him happy when he’d lost his family but now it seemed he would not search all his days and never know the truth of what happened.
She spoke up though when Crevan suggested Amergin be taken to the border. “Woden is right, you cannot call Herla here without risking her safety. And Fairy is dangerous to those not of Fae blood,” she said softly, stepping out from the darkness of the trees branches, her gaze meeting that of the pleading father. The owl fluttered down to the pool, perching delicately upon its rim and looked down into its glassy surface, “You could go in just a few seconds and come back out to years already past,” she told him. Dangers faced in this vision had the power to affect actual events, this was strong magic being worked and care needed to be taken. The Goddess looked out through dark owl eyes seeing the past overlapped with the future.

“In this place the veil is thin though and if you wish it, you will be able to see your daughter,” the owl dipped one talon into the pool, it sent ripples across it’s mirror-like surface and when they resolved again, a small black feathered fawn lifted her face to the mirror, seeming to focus upon those gathered around it, she looked uncertain, scared perhaps. “It is her,” said the owl, “She can hear you and see you but can come no further than this, I’m sorry, it’s the best I can do.”

Most of the stags jumped and violently turned their heads at the now-speaking owl, some even backing off. Only Amergin and Crevan stayed in place, perhaps the second voices in their head well aware this situation wasn’t normal to begin with. He frowned at the owls’ words. Would he really care though, if something like that happened? What else was there to live for in his life but his child? But, alright. It was hard to voice up against a speaking owl.
His gaze went to the pool of water as she changed it to show Herla, speaking she couldn’t do better than this. Gently, as if trying not to disturb something, the dark stag stepped forward to look into the pool. That was his daughter, unmistakably so. The expression in his face became painful for a second as he realized he could never be close to her again, but he seemed to pull himself straight pretty quickly. “Herla? Can you hear me? It’s daddy.” She was very young, but had always been quick of understanding. “I’m sorry I can’t be with you anymore.” Of course he’d end up blaming himself. Even if he couldn’t have helped it, there would be some way he’d blame himself. Had only he waken earlier, had only he noticed Elandria’s change in attitude, had he only. But now he stood speaking to a pool of water to the daughter he’d never see again. He didn’t want to upset her though, would not break down. Soldiers didn’t do that ever. “You’ll be good to Woden, right? You’ll make many friends and have brilliant adventures. And don’t let those who aren’t nice to you get you down, okay?” What did one say at times like these anyway? “I love you Herla.” He spoke, watching the water slowly ripple and his reflection showing instead of the small fawn.

Ephiré watched the scene play out before him; not surprised at all when the pale owl stepped forward, trusting Danu's actions. She seemed to be in charge here, and was likely the one most knowledgeable about what was happening. It was painful to watch Amergin say farewell to his daughter. To know she would live and hopefully live well, but never be able to see her again – was that worse than if she would disappear? Who knew. He only hoped the memory of Amergin would live happier than the real Amergin had.

The creamy hued owl retreated with diffidence so the dark stag could peer within the pool, giving space to the father so he could say his farewells with at least a little privacy. It was not her goal to be the center of attention, she hoped to guide without overwhelming the scene with her own presence, all her magic under the firm grip of Fae glamour so eyes would slide off her, and perhaps she’d be forgotten as quickly as she’d been noticed.

On unsteady stilt-like legs, the infant fawn rose her face expectantly at the sight of her father as he peered through the mirror of the pool, a little of the fear and uncertainty receding from her features at his calming voice. She was far too young to understand all that was happening, that she was losing her family and this was a final goodbye, but she could sense how sad her father seemed and how sad her mother had seemed too. “Be good,” she agreed, hoping to make him a bit happier, giving a tentative smile and chewing on her lip in uncertainty, a mannerism she would carry into adult hood. “Love Daddy,” where her last words to the images in the pool, the simple heart-felt words of a child.

In the sky the eye looked on, well aware things would be over now quickly. The story would be done, Amergin would be saved and perhaps they could break the curse easier now. Perhaps this would do for the other broken souls too. It was worth a try.
What he didn’t notice were the dark clouds looming over the hill behind him in the real world, where the bodies lay asleep in front of him. His eye blind to it as it stared into the abyss. Perhaps they weren’t clouds, perhaps a giant shadow in the sky closed in to the angel and his guards.
A figure appeared, tall on the horizon. It appeared to be built of thin bones and nothing more, a large glowing circle behind her cloth covered face. The forest had gone silent, the wind had turned to whispering into the guard’s ears.

Back in the forest, Leto was sitting with the seemingly unconscious Altijd. He felt nervous. What if something happened? He hadn't felt comfortable with entering her younger sister's memory, but now, he almost regretted it. It was... kind of creepy, sitting there, watching over an unmoving stranger with three eyes and strange spinning head-adornments while most of his family was stuck inside Neela's mind while their bodies lay around him. He had had enough of that kind of thing, really, he thought with a frown and a shiver. It didn't feel right to step into someone's mind like that.
But maybe it was necessary. He eyed Altijd suspiciously, ears flopping down around his face. This feeling of helplessness was familiar, but very unwelcome. With a sigh he lowered his head towards the ground, but stopped mid-air when a shadow seemed to fall over them. Strange, he thought, the sun shone so bright just a few minutes ago – perhaps there would be rain? The atmosphere of the cozy birch clearing had changed dramatically, he noticed when he looked around, and with a sharp intake of breath he suddenly noticed the tall figure.

Scrambling, he quickly got to his legs. Who was that? More important, what was that? Where did it come from? Maybe it was a bad idea after all to trust the blue stranger. Fidgeting, he tried to swallow his sudden fear as he trotted around the sleeping figures, trying to make himself look bigger. There was no one else around to guard them; he'd have to take care of this.

Prita sat with her God Brothers, Leto and Johan, doing her best to watch over the family as well. She’d been quiet through it all, wide green eyes watchful and wary of all that was occurring. She had no magic or special skills to offer, no antlers to offer in defense but she watched over the prone form of those she cared for, a gawky limbed girl very uncertain of herself. But she would not leave them and she would do what she could. When the dark shadow fell over the group, she turned fearful eyes skyward at the anomaly that now approached them wishing greatly she was more then she was. Leto went forward, seeming as uncertain as her, she stood back, but in front of those she had promised to guard, a fearful tremor going down her spine.

“Yes, good.” Amergin replied, closing his eyes as the image in the mirror faded. Crevan looked around them as the world started shaking, though not in the manner of an earthquake. More like how a flame would make the world go wobbly. With the waves, the environment disappeared, as did her disguise. Verve shook on her legs for a moment when she had returned to her rightful form, the memories hitting her again, giving her a painful headache for just a moment. She looked around as everything had gone black again, her father standing with his head low and his eyes closed. That must have sucked for him.
“Yes, good!” The eye in the sky chuckled, seemingly in amusement. “That might’ve been enough to break the curse entirely. ” If he had enough power still, that was. He looked back at the chained down form of Neela. The image of Amergin stepped back into the shadows, disappearing. Gehirn seemed to look at him now, some form of resentment in his eyes perhaps. Although he understood, of course. How hard it was to say goodbye to your own child.

The skeleton figure stepped over to them, her golden ribs reflecting in the little sunlight still coming through the dark clouds she seemed to drag over the group. Her steps were silent, as if she was made from air.
Altijd seemed to start shaking, his real form that was. His eye still closed, a trail of purple goop dripped down from his mouth past his chin. He bended forward as if in pain as suddenly the eye in the world with the sleeping bodies started to turn in it’s non-existant socket. Then closing, disappearing into the black.
Gehirn looked up as the angel disappeared, silencing entirely. After a moment, the stag opens his mouth. “Did he just leave us?”

In the real world, his third eye opened fast, as if startled by something. He turns to look at Leto, then Prita, before he turns to the dark cloud above them. It looked unnatural, purple of color, but mostly black. It gave the world they were in an odd hue, something sickening and pale. He recognized this. Temeluch was approaching. He should have known she would be attracted to the high amount of lifeforce he had been collecting to control this curse.

To her, life or death mattered little. She needed energy to create new husks, this was her task and the only thing she focused on. Hamaliel was one of her collectors. Whatever was around him was mere extra force she could take.
Perhaps the reason he would usually go to her instead of waiting on her arrival.
The mouth under the cloth cover opened, purple smoke steaming out together with an unearthly sound. A high pitch, something almost inaudiable. When she was close enough, just a meter behind the purple colored Angel, did she start to slowly drain the life energy from him as well as those around him. They just kind of happened to be there. Strings of smoke they never knew they breathed drained from their mouths. It’d make them feel tired if they let it happen.

In one and the same motion, the purple angel jumped on his legs, the halo above his head spinning so fast it seemed to expand largely in width. In that motion, two rings covered in eyes emerged from his body, circling around him as he flew at the bony figure stealing life force.
She hadn’t seen that coming. He normally didn’t fight back or argued his position. Perhaps she had gotten too used to the odd normality of the situation. As soon as one of the rings touched her, she was set ablaze. Thrown aside. A piercing sound escaped from her throat as she tried to back off from the violent Throne.
In but a second, Altijd had transformed from a fairly ordinary deer into a creature covered in eyes, rings spinning around him rapidly. Their whirling seemed to go in a pattern, making different noises and tones with the way they spun. It sounded like he was speaking that way. And sure enough, the other creature backed away, the dark clouds disappearing alongside her.
Altijd turned when the other angel seemed to have disappeared, looking at Prita and Leto as he closed the eyes on his body again, the rings around him shrinking and disappearing back into him. His halo also went back to the usual size. “You both okay?” He asked, his voice more dual than usual. “Sorry about that.” Hamaliel said as he sat back down, once more directing his attention to the screen into the curse he had made. He seemed shaky and pale though, a complete mood shift on his face. He wasn’t happy.

The vision dissolved, that old forest with its old secrets melted away and Herla was herself again now too, separate once again from the memory of Elandria, but she now knew her mother, remembered her with a vividness that would not leave her now, it filled her with a renewed sense of sadness and loss but also perhaps a gratitude to have been given that chance. She’d also somehow seen the interaction that occurred after Elandria had left. When Amergin had said goodbye to his daughter. To her. And she remembered that too, it was HER memory now. Saying goodbye to her father. How all that was possible she could not comprehend but it was there, a part of her now too. Unnervingly and perhaps unwelcome, Herla now also knew now what it felt like to be lost to the Wild Hunt and she stood shivering a moment at the remembered feel of its grasp as it had torn her away from her family. Tears made her vision hazy but soon enough, she realized they were back in the dark place inside Neela’s mind, she stood beside her daughter, stance wide to keep upright, still reeling from all that had occurred. A healing had occurred on many levels. For Amergin. For Elandria. And for Herla to some extent too. Along with heartache there was understanding.

Danu sure enough felt the magic of the vision flow as it was meant to, the past correcting itself, the waves of what they had accomplished travelling in all directions. It HAD been real. This was strong magic. Strong indeed. Danu felt the prison that held Neela cracking, weakening it’s hold, so did the binds that bound the Goddess. She felt perhaps a surge of giddiness at this, the white shining doe stepping forward to be visible once again to those gathered here in Neela’s mind. The dark place became less so, light in fact began to enter the entire place, faintly at first like a rising dawn, it revealed a leaf littered forest floor, strong trees reaching high with bared branches all around. They had lost their leaves in the darkness of winter but they glowed with the promise of renewed growth. This was the Garden of Neela’s mind and it sung with the promise of something vast. The Shades of those past lives that haunted Neela, remained but became something else, they were glowing with warm light now, no longer something wrong but something of life and they went to the trees, fusing with them, stretching into the reaching branches above them and burrowing deep into the roots of the ground. They were a part of Neela now, and they gave their strength and light to her. The doe who was Mother to them all guided them, weaving them into a tapestry of life that infused every part of Neela’s Garden.

It was a precarious moment, a moment balanced upon the power supplied by the Angel above. Danu could do this because Altijd was there too, a conduit into the outside world, the healing was almost complete, Neela’s Garden was almost set to rights….just a few more moments…but then Altijd was gone, pulled away quite abruptly, something occurring on the other side of the veil that Danu had no knowledge of, but it brought her work to an abrupt halt as she suddenly had to throw all her Power into holding the “world” together. A place that held Neela’s soul now, but also those that had come here to help her. Herla, Johan, Gehirn, Ciel and Ephire. It was a sudden and unexpected drain on the newly awakened Goddess, she poured out Power like a flood, haphazardly almost, uncontrolled. Frantic to keep the world from falling apart, doing everything she could to safeguard the souls now on her shoulders, she took from them too, layers of time and space snapping and unwinding in unpredictable ways.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

“Hamaliel, HELP!”

Time exploded.


Prita was terrified. She’d been spared the battle between Gehirn and Woden. That was a sight that would have been unnerving enough. Watching Angel’s collide in epic battle sent the young doe to her knees. Most of it her mind was just unable to absorb and comprehend. She just knew something really, REALLY bad was happening and she really really wished she could run far far away as fast as she could. She stood steadfast though, overcoming her terror, doing what she could to shield those that lay prone all around her. If she felt the drain as the angel drew her very life force from her, she didn’t know it, her vision swam, the scene was already impossible to comprehend.

Suddenly it was over it seemed. Only Altijd remained, the other being vanquished? She nodded numbly when he asked if they were okay and she thought to check the other prone figures around her as well. They all still breathed but they didn’t awaken. Prita liked this less and less. It was like everyone was dead. She stared at Leto, the terror she felt near to bursting. But the quiet doe stayed quiet. The Angel didn’t look so good now. Was he alright? She didn’t know what the right thing to do was but she felt she had to help him if this was going to go right, she stepped forward to help support him with her shoulder.


There was happiness mixed with a twinge of longing when Amergin and the small Herla had their heartfelt goodbyes. Ephiré watched, silent as usual, in a way feeling like an intruder; but his practical self reminded him that he had helped make this happen. It made for a beautiful scene, he thought, when the shades of past lives in Neela’s mind fused together into the light. At the same time it seemed like he had shed the guise of Woden, now being all Ephiré again.

A shiver went down his spine a split second before Altijd’s presence was violently ripped from Neela’s mind-world and for a moment he stood, dumbfounded, before some of his most basic survival instincts kicked in and he forcefully slammed shut his own mind’s walls in defence against the raw, pulsing power that Danu was throwing around. When time and space started to melt together as the white doe fought to keep the world standing, he could feel Danu drawing power from all around her. Panic rose in his throat and he used a lot more power than he would normally ever do to keep his mind and himself in one piece, hoping that it perhaps would extend to his companions. He would sleep like a rock when it was over, that was for sure, but for now, he drew magic from deep, dark sources in his mind’s ocean as time itself started warping, hoping it would be enough. And if it wasn’t... well, there was more where it came from; he only hoped he would be able to pay the price for it later.

Leto’s back fur was standing on end like an angry dog’s, his ears slicked backwards on his skull, teeth bared in a snarl with a feral growl rising in his throat. That… being… felt wrong, immensely so. With a few quick steps he moved to stand close to Prita, the growl growing deeper as he could feel his own life force slip towards the skeletal being. It felt way too much like another time when his life had been sucked away, and perhaps he had learnt something since then -- he would not let his power go as easy this time. But now the being was stronger. Or perhaps older, more experienced, and his attempts were futile. It stopped, though, and he watched, slightly wild-eyed, as the two… beings had brief but seemingly intense fight. He was left panting as if he had run around the whole forest for days, and he glanced to Prita. She looked as terrified as he felt, but was perhaps either more brave or more stupid than Leto since she actually went forward to see how Altijd was. Leto’s already precarious trust in the being had more or less dissipated completely, but even then he realized that his family was in the blue-haired stranger’s hands, and so followed his godsister with uncertain steps.

Gehirn had turned to look at Danu as she stepped back into vision, perhaps also realizing the roles she had been playing. That odd owl, of course. Just something for his mate’s family to pull off. He watched the forest appear, the figures disappear. This all was a bit much for him. How did they suddenly get to a forest?
When the angel disappeared, the forest almost seemed to twist around. From peaceful it nearly instantly went into something different, the same forest but with it’s atmosphere turned inside out. The trees had problems staying in existence, shifting in and out of it. The large male stepped back, though had nowhere to go but closer to his mate and children.
The world twisted quickly, time melting away. This was not something he could handle, let alone comprehend. They were likely very lucky Ephiré was there, or they would’ve all gone insane. The images though weren’t going anywhere. Though he could never describe to another what he saw.

He didn’t really want to lean into the poor young doe, but his power was mainly gone. Luckily not all of it. With a loud thud, the angel fell back on the ground in front of the portal he was controlling the world through before. For a moment his eye turned to Prita and Leto, before closing it finally.
Had he not stepped in, he would’ve never been able to break that curse. They would’ve been swallowed in, he was sure of it. Now he still had a chance to help them. But he’d have to dig deeper.

And maybe silently the thought of “why would I do this” went through his mind. Why would he hurt himself over some creatures he really didn’t know? This was all for his own entertainment. With his mother involved, it was a lot less entertaining for him. He’d have to actually take from his own being to fix things now. Hurt himself, in essence. Was the entertainment worth that?
Within the same thought the eye opened again in the sky. A ring of power appearing around it, expanding before being launched down and around the group below. He pulled the world straight immediately, releasing Danu and Ephiré from their predicament. But the eye never opened entirely again, and in the world outside his body slumped down to the ground. It was odd to feel weak. Something he rarely experienced. And –that-, was worth it. Even if it hurt or if it wasn’t a positive emotion, Altijd would find joy in experiencing it. Something away from the ordinary, the dull. Something worth remembering.
The world was definitely not as stable as before he had left though, his energy was out. “THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!” The large irish shouted up to the blank-looking eye above them. “You FUCKER, what HAPPENED?” Maybe a little more angry than he would be had he known why he had left. For all he knew, this as all a game for the odd creature. “I’m sorry.” The eye would reply, his voice more like the wind in the now invisible forest. He didn’t seem able to keep up the imagery. It had gone dark, reduced to shadows. “I can still do this, but I need your help now.” The angel said, his voice as if he was exhausted. And where the figures had surrounded Neela before, something started to appear. “The curse refers to those who had a bad thing happen to them, whether they caused it or had it happen.” The angel spoke as another figure appeared to haunt over Neela. The silhouette still very unclear.
“I can’t break it yet. There’s someone here from her line who has to do that-who holds her down. Whose history was taken by the curse, became it.” He spoke, the silhouette slowly sprouting enormous, fanned out antlers, stepping towards the group and looking down on most of them. Color seeped in slowly, a golden mask, red antlers, and the brightest red fur on his chest.
Gehirn stepped back the second he realized who he was looking at. The other figure’s hoof hovering above Neela’s head, his being now clearly coming in. He had a golden mask, spikes attached to the forehead. It shone like the sun. His antlers were red, bright red, with golden tips made to fit on them. They were sharpened, weapons. His black fur was fairly short, muscle shining under the coat.

Gehirn felt cornered, exposed perhaps. He knew the moment, recognized the happening, but found himself on the other side. The side of the father of the child he had his hoof on. “DON’T KILL HER!” He shouted, though it didn’t feel like anything was coming out. The giant panicked, clearly, unsure of what to do.


Danu poured out Power like a super nova, Power that shot in all directions through time and space, it’s intent to hold and to stabilize this world, Neela’s mind and it’s connections. Ephiré shone quite brightly upon that landscape, a Nexus of Light and Power that reached through time and space as well, the Goddess may have drawn on that, anchored to it in her desperate attempt to keep the world from shattering around them.. Strands of her Power shot through those around her too, into their pasts. Their futures. The effects uncontrolled and unpredictable even to her.

Altijd came back. His return precipitating a sudden stop in the world’s spiraling instability. The Goddess sighed, in relief and exhaustion, the super nova going out in a blink, her brightness shut off, the last of her strength now gone. She might have appeared to disappear even but in the darkness that had fallen over the scene, a faint glow where she had stood remained, her form like a hazy wisp of smoke in the vague shape of a doe. It pulsed faintly with life, not extinguished but for now, greatly diminished. Too weak even for the power of speech in that moment, she could only emit of musical note of dismay when out of the now darkened garden of Neela’s mind another shade emerged to hover over the child’s still prone form. She knew what it was, something that was wrong and shouldn’t have happened. Something that was partially her fault. From her ghostly form came a warble of sorrow and apology.

Herla’s mind reeled, her senses grasping for something that made sense to hold on to again. Altijd had left them. And that hadn’t been good. The world had jarred. Danu had done something to stop it, she had felt her Grandmother’s power pour through her and for a short time she saw things a mortal mind was not meant to see or hold within its limited confines. And almost as quickly as it had occurred it had snapped off, and Grandmother was gone. Or almost gone, her presence like a whisper now. Something bad had happened. Herla had felt the shift but she didn’t know what it meant. Gehirn was beside her. Swearing harshly. Her mind numb, his angry shouting grounded her and seemed to be the thing that brought her fully back into the present with everyone else.

Altijd was back saying the curse was still not broken. She blinked in confusion at the form that was materializing near Neela. Another Shade. As it gained solidity her mouth fell open. At once she recognized the being that stood before them but she found herself completely unable to reconcile what it was he was doing.

It was Gehirn. And he was about to murder their child.

He looked different. She recognized so much about him, it was definitely him, but a hundred myriad details clashed with her accepted vision of him. His fur was blacker, shinier perhaps then she’d ever seen it before. The red fur of his chest, that she knew so well, that she had fallen asleep nestled close to so many times, was vibrant in a way it had never been as long as she’d known him. He bore his golden mask, pristine and unmarred, it appeared as if newly made, the sharp spikes it bore perhaps all the more menacing looking in their apparent newness. And he was terrible, his anger and malice a palpable force.

Shock held her frozen, not even Gehirn shouting behind her could pull her attention away it seemed from what now stood before her, everything had shrunk to this one moment. Her husband, standing before her, his giant hoof about the bare down and crush their daughter.

“Gehirn, stop!” she heard her own voice ring out clear and true, “She’s your daughter,” the does’ ruby eyes, desperate and pleading, searched for his crimson ones behind the golden mask, they were there she knew it, this was him, it was her Gehirn and she would reach him. Whatever spell held him, whatever vision he perceived, she threw every bit of her will and her magic forward to break it. She could not navigate the rivers of time as her ancient Grandmother could, or even perhaps as Neela may one day be able to, but this being, she was bound to now through vows and commitments and those reverberated with a Power of their own, “She’s our child,” she told him, the power of Truth firm in her voice.


The world reeled and swam before the raven stag’s eyes. It was a long time since he had done something that mentally exhausting, he thought absentmindedly, as he tried to catch up with the present, now that things seemed to have stabilized again. In the back of his head, a newly awakened headache reared its ugly little head, and he winced. He’d feel that tomorrow, that was for sure. Starting to come back to his senses, he noticed Danu blink out and fade, and turned his head at her sound of dismay, staring at the dark silhouette in front of them. It was very familiar.

Holding back when Herla and Gehirn started shouting, unsure what to do, he paced slightly behind them. This seemed more like a matter of the heart rather than a need for some sort of power; an area he didn’t… really feel he had any expertise in. While he had known Gehirn for quite a long time, he had never seen him like this. Either his image was somehow corrupted by Neela’s mind-shades, or it was a memory-image from a long time ago. Feeling empty-headed and stiff, the numbness came creeping back and he stood, passive, once again a spectator and not an actor, watching as both Gehirn and herla tried to get through to the shadow image.

Leto’s heart, already beating too fast, too hard, felt lodged in his throat as Altijd slowly toppled over, seemingly unconscious, and he made a sort of hissingly terrified noise. Slowly, carefully, as if the unmoving body would explode at any moment. With a hoof he poked at the blue being, looking for signs of life. There was none.

It felt as if he would vomit out that lodged heart any time now. Was the stranger dead? Had he just passed out? There didn’t seem to be any way to tell which alternative was true, but there was no obvious signs of life. Panic rose as he poked the body harder. “You better be alive in there,” he hissed through gritted teeth, terrified anger fueled by fear and desperation coiling around his spine. If Prita hadn’t been there, he would likely have broke down crying, but it wouldn’t make any difference besides perhaps scare Prita. Wild-eyed, he looked around at his seemingly peacefully sleeping family, feeling utterly lost. “What do we do,” he mumbled. There had to be something they could do... right?


This was the best he could do. Letting his body slip and fall meant he had more energy to keep Leto’s family safe from the curse’s complete grasp. He sure did hope the group solved this one quickly though, or he’d have to go into a coma for a few years to collect himself back to his senses. And he was enjoying this! No fun to fall out of it now. But he could not console the confused children. His pump had paused, his breathing stopped. He was in the same kind of shape he’d be when he put his body down to sleep to enter another dimension. And perhaps he’d have to, after this.

It was odd how he could feel himself panicking in a world where he had no actual body. He felt his heart racing, but still felt so far away from it. His eyes drifted to Herla as she tried to plead with the figure, with himself really. He felt the effect of the power she was using, even more fiercely aware of what was happening now. But the other, the crowned giant who knew how to use his mass so much better than he himself did, did not stir. His name was not Gehirn, he did not know who this doe was nor did he seem to care much. To his sides, the ghostly figures of others seemed to fade in. Golden masks, some very long with snapping beaks, others as spiked as the king’s own. The beaks snapped, the others cheered. “Kill her, kill her!” They chanted in unison, stomping their hooves. Besides Gehirn and Herla, figures appeared as well, shades really. They were screaming curses, some hesitantly making charges before being thrown at the ground by the opposite group. Their species clearly different, Odio’s side well muscled and prepared, their own scrawny and dark. They stood no chance, but still seemed willing to try and defend Neela. Or, whoever they saw.

Gehirn narrowed his eyes, planting his hooves firmly in the black void representing a ground. Lifting his head, he spoke up. “She is just a child, she never harmed you!”

It was hard to see any type of change in expression behind a golden mask. Done on purpose, of course, Gehirn knew what he looked like behind there though. The almost unscarred giant lowered his head down, the mask’s spikes terrifyingly close to Gehirn’s face. He knew how to lift himself to look higher far better than the old stag. When he spoke, Gehirn was once more reminded of how hoarse his own voice had gotten. How smooth it had once been. Perhaps otherwise he’d never noticed the change. “No. But you killed my son, it is only fair.”
Gehirn could hear the smirk in Odio’s voice. He really didn’t care for that child’s life. Hadn’t cared. He just wanted to see the other suffer like he had. Even if it had been a mistake, an accident, why did that matter? The other male deserved to suffer. He only had to shift his weight a little, and her head would crush like the leaves in autumn.

Gehirn knew what part of the conversation came next. What would happen next. How the crowd would cheer when the blood finally was spilled, what it would do to himself. But just as with Amergin, he knew he wasn’t just Neela’s father. He was also aware of the fight Odio had had just weeks ago, where it would hurt.
And instead of saying what he was supposed to say, the giant lowered his antlers to the other. Towering above him had been a mistake he wished the other father would have known about. The movement was fast, his antlers pierced through Odio’s chest with one violent thrust. Reopening whatever wounds had tried to heal, causing the crowd to silence. The younger stag screamed, pushed back and away from Neela. Gehirn threw him over, smacking him into the ground.

With the same motion, with the same bash of the ground, the figure fell apart. Neela’s shackles broke now, the world slowly reverting to what it should be. Neela’s mind, her garden as it had been mentioned before.

The giant eye seemed to make a sound quite alike to a breath of relief. The curse disappearing from Neela, they had overcome it. His eye spinned around for a moment, before focusing on the scene now. Waking them would be easy, but he turned to look at Danu first. Maybe she had something to say.


As the angel had slumped down between herself and Leto, Prita felt a well of panic. She looked to Leto, he was older after all, but in the end, not by much, they were both very out of their depth it seemed and the thought frightened Prita all the more. Was this being even still alive? She couldn’t tell. Leto seemed to share her fears, she watched him prod him. She clenched her jaw, seeing his wild eyed panicked look. Prita had always been the sort to only grow more quite and almost blanked faced in the face of things that overwhelmed her. “The window’s still open?” she spoke up quietly, taking that perhaps as a sign he hadn’t left them yet, though her tone was just as uncertain as Leto’s. She had no idea what to do either so she just stayed by the angel, willing him to be okay and to keep her loved one’s safe.

Herla could only stare in mounting horror as her pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears, the stag that was clearly Gehirn not seeming to recognize her in the least. And under his hoof was their daughter. When other figures seemed to materialize around them, menacing figures that called for her daughter’s death, Herla’s breath caught in her throat in increasing panic. No, no, no! Herla’s frantic gaze shot from face to face, trying to make sense of what was happening, her voice being added now to the crowd that had gathered to beg for Neela’s life.

Gehirn stepped forward. Her Gehirn. The one she knew and loved, his semblance as recognizable to her as her children’s. She did not see him in any way lesser to the clearly younger Gehirn who stood before them, her Gehirn had shocks of grey at his temples and scars she knew by heart. She shrunk back behind him as he came to face this past Gehirn, their words confusing to her. She said nothing now, her face pale as she watched them in a grim paralysis of fear. Her heart in her throat, she couldn’t help but cry out herself when suddenly her Gehirn moved quickly and violently, toppling the younger Gehirn. To hear the other scream out in agony wrenched her horribly, it was still him after all, and it confused her greatly, but then he was gone, like smoke dissipating on the wind, the other Gehirn in his fierce gold was gone along with the crowd that had surrounded them. Her mate with his shock of grey and his familiar scars remained. And Neela had been saved once again. Herla met his crimson eyes, many questions there but the scene was changing around them again. Those questions would have to wait for another time.

Altijd’s sigh of relief was echoed in the scene, the faint dawn-like light rising again around them, a leaf littered forest floor punctuated by strong trees sending up sturdy branches into a canopy above them. Their trunks glowed with life and in their center laid Neela. Asleep. Still not waking.

“Is it over?” Herla swallowed hard, looking around her perhaps fearful now of some further attack, some other thing that could go wrong and threaten them. Nothing seemed to happen really except for the faded light that was Danu that had all but disappeared came to hover over the sleeping Neela, “Did we do it, will she wake up now?” asked Herla, afraid of what the answer might be. Her gaze went to the faded form of her Grandmother. And up to the eye of the angel that still hovered above them, perhaps only now she saw how bad he had started to look. She swallowed hard.

The light that was Danu seemed to gain solidity once again, coming further into focus, the white doe stepped gently toward her granddaughter, “Yes, it’s over, the curse is broken, all the past lives of her line that haunted Neela are now at rest, a part of her now, they live inside her and will keep her garden strong,” the trees that surrounded them seemed to echo that statement with an answering glow. She stood over Neela, her expression as she looked down at the sleeping fawn one of loving tenderness. The white Goddess looked up though, conflict clearly warring upon her face as her gaze met those around her each in turn. The angel above them, the God Ephire, and the family that was her family also. A tear slid down her cheek. “I am the last piece.”

“Grandmother?” asked Herla, very, very quietly now.

“I have slept for a long, long time and living is quite hard to let go off I find,” she laughed, but it sounded pained, “It’s her turn now though, not mine,” she nodded to Neela, “This is her life now. Mine has passed,” still the white doe stood, making no move either way as she seemed to struggle to overcome some internal obstacle.


Leto made a tired sound of agreement in response to Prita’s words. She was right; the portal was still open, humming softly in his mind. That, at least, was a relief. Perhaps the angel wasn’t dead, then, he pondered ? hoped fervently ?, keeping the thought close, not daring to lose it. After a few moments of fidgeting, he plopped down beside the angel’s unconscious form, limbs tucked close underneath his body, seemingly trying to take as little space as possible, very different from his usual sprawling poses. All they could do was to wait, he supposed, sighing deeply with a resigned look at the blue body beside them.

Ephiré watched the events play out in front of him; to an outside eye his stillness could very well be taken for indifference. Perhaps it was, at least a part of it; one of many deeply ingrained defence mechanisms in his mind. But there was also a feeling of privateness around the whole thing, something for Herla and Gehirn to fight through for themselves. Or maybe he was just tired… his mind felt sluggish, like walking in syrup. With an effort he pushed through the nebulous feeling, trying to gather his wits again, feeling the relief coming from all around him. He met Danu’s gaze and knew what she spoke of. Letting go. Something he had never had the courage to do himself. He bowed his head deeply to the goddess.

Energy does not cease existing; it only transforms.

His eyes crossed with his mate’s for just a moment before wandering off quickly. He stood still, shaking. The giant irish was absolutely exhausted, even if he wasn’t really there in body. It was an odd tiredness, like he had been thinking too much all day. Had he known the concept of maths, perhaps he’d been able to refer it to something.
Instead he focused on his daughter. Somehow hoping his intense staring would make her up quicker. And he didn’t even catch onto what Danu meant until her last sentences. Perhaps he raised an eyebrow, followed by his head. Was she the problem now? Did he have to push her back into Neela? He would! At this point he’d do anything. The mental image made little to no sense though.

Altijd’s eyelids were almost closed, looking rather sorry for himself. For a giant eyeball in the sky, really. But he was absolutely enjoying every bit of this, turning his attention on Danu who seemed rather sad. The whole concept of letting go was as lost on him as it wasn’t. He had met many who had passed away, had to let go constantly. But not of his own life. The eye sprung wide open at the thoughts the raven stag had, though. He wasn’t even sure if he had said it out loud or if it was just a whisper that had somehow passed onto the eye. “Yes, of course! You don’t die, Danu, this isn’t the end of you. This is only the beginning! You are young Neela as much as her parents are part of her, perhaps in a sense you are more so. Without her, you’d die. So don’t. Live on with her!” He suddenly spoke out enthusiastically, though his voice somewhat betrayed the extend of exhaustion he had coming over him as well. He was curious of course about Danu as a figure herself without Neela too, but figured this was likely the best way he’d ever get to speak to her in the future. “It was, and will be, nice to meet you Danu. Sorry I messed up earlier.” He decided to apologise at least. Even if messing up was the wrong description for that, explaining it seemed like a hassle.

Gehirn wasn’t too sure what to make of the words of the angel. This was his daughter, not Danu. But perhaps it made sense they were all part of each other. He saw himself in Leto, Johan, Vasana, Indira, and Neela. And he could see Danu in Neela too. “Your life is with hers.” He muttered almost, perhaps some conclusion he brought about. “But thank you for helping us getting through this.” He said with a nod of his head. He would’ve said more, perhaps sound more grateful. His head felt like a mess. He was sure she knew though, even without explicit telling, the extent of his gratefulness. It couldn’t have been done without her.


The white doe’s gaze travelled to the faces that watched her now. The God, Ephire regarding her with a look of understanding, his silent words, never the less understood. Tired Altijd above her all too well understanding too. They were both right of course. Danu would not die, could not really. She wasn’t a finite physical form that could expire and be lost, she’d existed since the very beginning of the world and was tied and weaved into its very fabric. She would go on. Forever. Yet some forms where more desirable then others. This one would be hard to give up, She smiled at Altijd’s words, “You didn’t mess up, you saved us. And gave me…and them a chance we’d not had otherwise. Thank you.”

Her expression now especially solemn, she looked at her daughters and to the large red antlered stag that even in his exhaustion stood still, ready to protect his family even when he did not know how. And he thanked her. “You’re welcome,” she answered simply enough.

There had never been any question really that she would not do this. The Goddess was at her core, a mother, and a mother never stopped sacrificing herself for the benefit of her children. So she turned to Neela, laid down beside her, and curled about her tiny form, “It’s your life now,” she breathed into the child’s ear, her own form dissolving to leave the fawn sleeping alone. She was a part of Neela now, the biggest, sturdiest, strongest tree in her Forest, with roots that went forever and branches that reached to the heavens themselves.

The scene fell around them, another one of those shifts, that felt like walking through a portal, nothing extremely dramatic this time, but like she’d been asleep and now awoke. And this time when Herla opened her eyes again, she felt the earth of their home beneath her, and Neela curled next to her, Gehirn curled around them both. Lifting her head, she felt heavy and tired but very real. The rest of her family lay around them as well, and close by Prita and Leto sat bracing the Angel between them.

Neela didn’t move. Was she even breathing? Herla sat rigidly next to her, afraid to find out. The tiny fawn’s white lashes fluttered open and she sat up, Herla holding her breath, afraid to say anything, less she break the spell of her daughter awakening. The fawn’s translucent skin looked as fragile as ever but a hint of blush colored her cheeks and lips. She was awake. Alive.

Herla said nothing, again almost afraid to. But the child smiled looking into the faces of her mother and father, “I had a dream,” she said, her bell-like child’s voice ringing out brightly.

Sighthoundlady's picture

Ahhh, this is finally posted.

Ahhh, this is finally posted. I’m so relieved, ha! This here is months of work really, and I’m super good at driving myself and everybody else nuts with these things. A big thanks to everybody who put up with me and helped me out so much too, through out it. A super big thanks to Mis for laboring over this CSS and all that RP text, I literally ran away screaming from it. Originally my intention when starting this endeavor was to have the RP then I’d rewrite it in short story format with the intention of flexing my writing muscles. As it goes I was far more interested in illustrating and couldn’t find the focus for taking on the writing. Mis told me I was crazy to try to which I whole heartedly agreed so we posted the RP instead. To save my precarious sanity. In the end I was just happy to get to draw lots of art. Mis drew lots too and I just really love it all. I hope others will enjoy it too.

Story wise and goal wise, I wanted a chance to make something that had trials and tribulations, but in the end was about healing. A family’s ability to overcome adversity together, something that celebrates love. I guess a lot of people might find that cheesy but oh well. Sight is cheesy. I was especially excited to be able to explore aspects of Neela’s family history. On both sides.

Oh well, nevermind. Look at the shiny art, OoooooohhhhooOOOOooohhh!
Mis's picture

Aw yeah now I can start to

Aw yeah now I can start to post the tiny bits of art I did around. Because I do kind of like them. Anyway this was fun! Next week same time guys? Smiling <____<;.......
Yes hahaha however much fun this was I kind of just expect you all to simply scroll through the art. Which is, promise, all I'd do too. Like genuinly. That's a lot of text.

Holy. Now that was an

Holy. Now that was an excellent read, very riveting, and I loved learning all about the Fae and Woden. Awesome art too, naturally. Can't imagine the time this took, so well done.
Faustt's picture

So beautiful ;~;

So beautiful ;~;
Vala 's picture

All that art here, do not

All that art here, do not mean to bother you, but this is so amazing, it's so nice, you guys are really inventive ...♥
" ~ Lady in Red ~ "

♥ ♥

mkeene123's picture

&hearts; amazing

♥ amazing
“I like the night. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.”

-Stephenie Meyer, Twilight
Snowsauria's picture

Wow, I'm kinda speechless

Wow, I'm kinda speechless right now ;;
This was so interesting to read, and very gorgeous art and writing. Good job, you guys. ♥
Sighthoundlady's picture

Wow, all you fast read-y

Wow, all you fast read-y people, I’m impressed, you didn’t actually have to read it! Flattered you did none the less. Yup, we’ll have another one of these blogs up next week. Absolutely. Same bat time, same bat channel, probably be a bit bigger then this though. No problemo.

Wow, this was way too

Wow, this was way too gorgeous. So in love with your guys' art. It's so beautiful. ♥ Also had fun reading this.~
Apoidea's picture

I read the whole thing. Very

I read the whole thing. Very nicely done! Of course, the art is just gorgeous too.

Could I just say "Bravo!"? Because I can't think of more words.
treacherous's picture

I can't even explain how much

I can't even explain how much I love this! Definitely interesting enough to make that big wall of text irresistible to read. Job well done to everybody involved.
Iaurdagnire's picture

HNG. Tracking for now as I'm

Tracking for now as I'm half-way through. I was gawping too much at the artwork. (8
Junalia's picture

Wow! It was a very long but

Wow! It was a very long but beautiful read, and the pictures are gorgeous! Now I see why you guys are called royalty on here. Perfect mix of talents with such story involvement! Brava!
Echosong's picture

This is incredible!

This is incredible!
Ravyn's picture

fumbling with words. will

fumbling with words. will come back after work and try to cook up something worth posting, words worth this incredible masterpiece of a story.
Sighthoundlady's picture

All you readers!

All you readers! <3 *hands out cookies* You’re the best. Nice to know the art was interesting enough to convince people to read ha, I consider that quite the feat. Getting people to read on the internet = extremely difficult task! Did I mention there will be a quiz? We’re working on that now…

I just had to say…Mis, Apel and Faustt did a great job writing their bits…RPs by their nature can be a little convoluted at times but I’m really proud how well everyone did at their writing. Lots of fun to RP with them too. <3

Again, thanks everyone. And just looking at the art is okay too. Always appreciative of any and all words.
Junalia's picture

May I also add, if it's not

May I also add, if it's not too bold of me to say, that Herla has one sexy rump! haha. I'm especially fond of that pic of her defending Neela, That fluff! Makes me wanna nuzzle it, haha! Sorry! I had to say that!
Sighthoundlady's picture

Hahaha! Aww, and here she

Hahaha! Aww, and here she was trying so hard to be feisty.
Aivilo's picture

I'll have to read this more

I'll have to read this more thoroughly later o3o Attention span is not what it should be at the moment. But the art, and what I've read, is certainly lovely~
onyxsoulclaw's picture

This has simply taken my

This has simply taken my breath away, The art work here is so eye catching and detailed it's behond words, I take my hat off to you.
Please keep up this outstanding work you are a true inspiration, and may you be blessed for many years.

What a big work you did guys.

What a big work you did guys. Just wow

Tracking so I can finish

Tracking so I can finish reading later. The art and writing are fantasic
WonderfullySarcastic's picture

I will definitely have to

I will definitely have to come back to this in another day or two to keep reading. Such a long story, but so interesting!

Track ! This is very

Track !
This is very beautiful ! i love this story.
Mis's picture

Aah I wanted to say thanks

Aah I wanted to say thanks too to the people who took the time to read this ;_; You’re all insane btw this was 46 pages when I copy pasted it to Sight >8/ But yes, we really enjoy doing this kind of stuff, this was pretty new to us too. We wanted to roleplay this story, and just make art in whatever way it inspired us. This is kind of what came out. I’m very happy that, even if he’s been around for over five years, my guy Gehirn can still be active and involved in plots. His family and the people involved with it never stop inspiring, and that’s awesome. All the new additions to it really help too. So I wanted to say thanks to all the people that keep inspiring in this community. I'm glad to have a place to do these kind of things too.
CydaLuva83's picture

This is absolutely amazing.

This is absolutely amazing. The art, the writing, the coding. You all need to get paid for this stuff I swear.
Signature By Aihnna, Avatar by YaraMyst
onowl's picture

Wow! Words can not expressed

Wow! Shocked Words can not expressed how awestruck I am by the detail put into this; absolutely stunning. The artwork is exquisite and vibrant, it grabs my attention but doesn't pop out and distract me from reading. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the experiences this family has gone through. Smoothly wrapped up at the end and it really touched me. This is a very inspiring collaborative piece of work. Good work, very enjoyable to read and look at!
hoactzin's picture

mental note to finish reading

mental note to finish reading this tomorrow. Beautiful work.
Toya's picture

I dont know what to say... I

I dont know what to say... I really dont. I have a complex mix of emotions right now. so lets just leave it at that. amazing.
Woofwoof10's picture

It's amazing! I'll hope for

It's amazing! I'll hope for more, definitely.