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dgate history and lore
LERIAN    ISTORY

Table of Contents
:: Please submit FLERIAN History ::
:: A Flerian's Tale ::
:: The Oath of the Barrow ::
:: Kelwop ::
:: Tale of the Dragon's Burrow ::
:: A Lesson Earned, and a Lesson Learned ::

FLERIANS

Missing Documents ...

We are currently missing sections on Flerian History and Lore. If you have submissions please contact the webmaster so they may add them to the library.

A Flerian's Tale ...

[Note: This story first appeared in the 12th DFC on Sept. 29th, 1992 titled: A FLERIAN'S TALE by Gerrolan Viageiro.]

After the great conflagration that began This Age, Aremaia Starling was the first - with the intervention of Rinanni - of the high priests to return from whence they went at the time of the troubles. Dazrada Soros came next, the darkling high priest of Taath...

About the time of the recall of Dazrada Soros, a small Flerian, one named Sampo Grotte, appeared in the Spur. He, of course, followed that most honorable of professions for a Flerian - a thief. An excellent thief. And to quote a comtemporary, "He knew things."

At first the things he told his aquaintances were shrugged off. But after what he foretold happened, or was proven true, they began to take notice, and soon he had a small following. Sampo did not arrive alone in Spur, however - everywhere he went he was watched by black-robed men.

One day, he called aside a small group of friends and asked them to swear to The Oath of the Burrow with him, that they might help him complete a quest. Some immediately, like Random DiAmber - ever an adventurer - complied. Others, like Bren Dellaster, resisted as Sampo would not tell them of the quest until they swore. Eventually all he chose were convinced, and so was the Circle of the Oath formed.

The Circle included these: Random DiAmber, the Runemage; BrenDellaster, the Secian cleric; Calondin Fflammdwyn, the Psycian; the drag-al bards Roxy Glitterchaser and her husband Xyzzy Spursearcher; and of course, Sampo himself.

Finally Sampo told them of their quest. Dazrada Soros had been confined to the Temple of Taath... whether by he who returned him, or by some other power is still not known. Soros was seeking to break those wards, and to do so, he required certain items of power. Sampo's quest was to steal these items and put them beyond the reach of Soros.

Their quest was not without resistance. Soros received word and soon gathered his own cadre to oppose their efforts, showing a flaming vellum scroll to any and all Taathians he could, convincing them to give him aid and watch those of the Circle.

To aid them in the search, Sampo gave Random a rainbow actar ring, with instructions to rub it in the presence of items suspected to be those they sought - it would glow if the guess was correct.

The first item sought was a sword. Information Sampo had obtained indicated a sword could kill Soros while he was neutralized by another item. It was believed that the sword was Mordecai's black diamond greatsword, now in the possession of Artaxerxes Stormclaw. The first goal was to get that sword and test it with the ring.

The Circle tracked down Artaxerxes and did their best to convince him to let them have the sword, to no avail. While they regrouped at the Rose Eternal to consider their next step, word came that the sword had exchanged hands and was now in the possession of Cassia, Artaxerxes' lifemate. She was more amenable to their advances and soon they had the sword, waiting breathlessly as Random rubbed the ring. Nothing happened. Downcast, they returned the sword and sought Sampo to pass on the news.

He shrugged it off, pointing out they needed only one item to disrupt the ceremony, though of course more were better. He told them he had new information. There was a vial of essence required by the ceremony, and it was hidden... perhaps in Moonglum's crypt. Immediately, they headed for the graveyard.

If you have never visited the crypt of Moonglum, you must. It is a dark and brooding place, full of shadows that hide horrors you have no wish to see. Here the Circle went, and standing in the center, Random again rubbed the ring, hoping for some clue of what they sought. Again nothing.

The Circle returned to the Rose to seek inspiration while Sampo disappeared to consult his sources. While no inspiration came from the vast quantities of ale downed, Sampo's sources did not let him down. Apparently, part of what they sought was behind a hidden portal in the temple of Taath, the very heart of their enemy's power. Sampo revealed the plan. That very night they would break into the temple, and seek out the portal. Sampo would go through to retrieve the item, but the rest must flee as soon as he entered, as the guardians would surely notice. They agreed.

And so as the moon set and the night darkened, they stole down Temple Way to the temple of Taath, feet swaddled in old rags to silence their steps, weapons muffled in cloaks. At the door they waited as Sampo produced a lockpick and went to work on the locks. It took but a couple deft twists, and the door eased open slowly with only the smallest creak to set everyone's nerves further ajangle.

Sampo tucked away the pick and slipped in, silent as a shadow. The others followed... They slipped into the very sanctum of Taath's power and approached the black altar. Wincing at the stench of dried blood, Random came forward when beckoned by Sampo, and rubbed the rainbow ring. A fat spark leapt from the ring to the altar, almost as if the ring spit. Sampo shook his head slowly and whispered, "Not here. It will glow when the place is right." They continued on, searching the temple room by room, careful not to disturb the acolytes sleeping in the alcoves.

It was in the office of the High Priest that the ring glowed. Quickly and expertly Sampo searched the room and soon he revealed a hidden door. Again he produced his lockpick and set to work. This time it took longer and the others waited as he frowned in concentration. Finally the last tumbler clacked over into place, and with a slight thunk Sampo pulled the bolt back. As he eased up the trapdoor, green light flooded the room from below! "Quickly now, run - I shall meet you later in the Psycian's Guild," Sampo whispered, and was gone into the eerie glow.

The others hesitated, wondering at what they saw - then demons appeared and attacked! Most ran, but Random remained behind, striking at the demons, so Bren too stayed. Then a demonlord stepped through the portal shouting, "Begone!" With one mighty blow he struck Random dead and glared fiercely at little Bren. Uncowed, Bren prayed for aid... and Elindale smote the demon, sending him back to the dark plane from whence Taath had summoned him. Again Bren cried out... and Random's body shimmered and stood as Elindale returned life to Random. They fled.

The Circle met in the Psycian's Center and there discussed what they had seen, wondering if they would again see the little Flerian who had so fearlessly entered the very heart of Taath's power despite demon and demonlord guardians. As they spoke a voice was heard, "I shall return, be patient," and a set of glowing morbius stones appeared on the floor. Random quickly grabbed them. In the days that followed the others tired of his constant wordplay with every female they passed, "Wanna see my rocks?" and so wrested the stones from him, and they passed into the hands of Bren who holds them to this day.

But that was the last of Sampo. Some time later he returned, this time with information that the vial of essence they sought was in the park. Again the Circle set forth, Random rubbing the ring in various places in the park. As they sought word came to Sampo that something was happening in the temple of Taath. Immediately Sampo vanished. The others looked at each other and returned to the Rose Eternal to wait news...

Sampo returned to the temple of Taath and there found Dazrada Soros' horribly mutilated corpse lying on the floor of his office, and above it stood a thing which Sampo could not, or would not, describe... a thing of such horror that Sampo fled, stopping only to tell a passerby of that which he had seen... and Sampo has not been seen since.

Whether he yet lives is not known - but no braver soul, or more noble hero has the Spur seen, than this little Flerian. Remember his name.

* * * * *

The interesting thing is that I see connections to current events; everything is tied together. The Dazrada Soros of this tale died. Yet another Soros appeared and attacked the Spur, and seemed to die. Who was that one? Was it a manifestation of the Lord of Deception? There is a power in the South mentioned in old bardic tales... is this it? Is this what Sampo saw and fled?

- Gerrolan

The Oath of the Barrow ...

[Note: This article stems from Issue #8 - August 26th, 1992 DFC, Titiled: THE OATH OF THE BARROW by Gerrolan Viageiro.]

Not much study has been made of the Flerian culture and civilization. As a result they are often misunderstood, and motives placed on their actions which are simply incorrect. In an attempt to correct this gap in the knowledge of educated folk, I took commission from Rinanni's temple to see what information I might collect for their archives.

What follow are a series of short interviews of Flerians. I would give names except I forget who said what. They all look the same. Truly. I do hope they prove informative.

- Gerrolan Viageiro, Journeyman Bard

* * * * *

"The Oath? Of course I know what The Oath is. What a silly question! Don't have time for this..."

--- --- ---

"Well, here in the city we're a bit less formal about The Oath than the boonie burrows are. If you were to visit one of them and ask for a, um, 'specialist' to help you on a quest or something, they'd put him through the formal Oathswearing, with a time period, a proper gift to the burrow, the works.

"Here we've adapted to fit in a bit. Not that we don't take The Oath just as seriously, mind you. If someone asks one of us to join their group, or we ask someone to join our group, and it happens, of course, The Oath is assumed sworn. It continues in effect until sunrise the day after the brother Flerian, or sister as the case might be - not too many sisters in the city though - leaves the company of that group.

"That it? Got someone waiting for me."

--- --- ---

"What's The Oath? The formal one? Well, it goes like this:

"By all that I hold dear, my burrow and family, my things, and my very life, I do swear to this oath. In exchange for the agreed gift to my family and burrow, for the period stated I will consider this group to be part of my burrow and as such what is theirs is theirs and what is mine is mine and I will not borrow without asking, nor loan without being asked. If I forswear or break this oath, may the mother of all rockwyrms appear in the dark of night to carry me off to the very bowel of hell, there to lay eggs in my paralysed corpse that her larva may feed on my flesh even as the imps of hell feed on my soul. And may all that I hold dear be forever lost, my family and burrow turn their face from me, and my things be given away one at a time to any who pass by. I so swear."

"Just saying it like that makes me shudder... look, I gotta go. Business."

--- --- ---

"Take The Oath seriously? Of course I take The Oath seriously! That part about the rockwyrm is true! And my burrow and family would never speak to me again! And my things!

"I don't even want to think about it. Bye."

--- --- ---

"Burrow? Why do we call it a burrow? Hmm...

"Well, there's wags that claim it's a perversion of 'borrow' but that seems unlikely. Or maybe it's true? You know the legends say the first burrow, the one out there past the hedgelands, Flerome, was once a cave where yelicans lived. The legend is a great Flerian hero found it and liked the place so he killed them all and took it from them. Borrowed it... anyway, gotta dash. Nice chattin with ya."

--- --- ---

"Yeah, in olden times we used to borrow a lot of eggs. The really brave guys would borrow yelican eggs, but mainly we stuck to easier ones like vulture. Vultures are wimps.

>

"Need to run. Mom said to bring home some eggs."

--- --- ---

"Important to me? Family and burrow. Neat things. Gettin rich. What else is there?... Scuse me... got an appointment."

--- --- ---

"Why do I borrow things? Cause they're there! I need em.

"Huh? Worry about whose? If they aren't family and burrow they aren't important. Gotta run."

--- --- ---

"Honor? Yeah honor is important! I always honor The Oath! Oh, you mean that cat honor stuff? Well, that's... hey, lookit that neat dagger!"

--- --- ---

"Where do we live? We live in burrows. Oh, you mean what places are burrows in? Everywhere. We get around. Speaking of that..."

--- --- ---

"Oh, was this yours? Sorry, it was just lying there. I better run..."

Kelwop ...

The Research done by Blister Peddlersklan

Kelwop: Kelwop is a rock-like mineral found in underground damp areas. It was first discovered by Kelwop Befuddled when he led the digging to a new subterranean city.

Kelwop is rather rare, but when found is very plentiful. Kelwop maintains a very lightweight matter which is from the constant dripping of water in certain caverns over hundreds of years. This creates micro holes small enough to keep its form but reduce the weight. It is still a strong material. It also maintains a very polished texture and a strange glowing aura which no one has been able to explain yet.

Kelwop has been used for a variety of uses to flerian in the past. Its very common for them to chip or carve almost any house hold item out of them. Mugs, silverware, platter, weapons, tools. Some Usils believe the Kelwop mineral is responsible for the strange glowing aura which comes from many of the flerian's inventory. They even believe exposure to this mineral has given them their night vision.

One flerian fashion designer long ago used this mineral as a fashion statement when she had it hammered into small dust and sprinkled upon a Noble Lady's gown. She was quite popular until she ran into an accident with a dragon's maw. Kelwop was also a popular weapon made into a long lance for a flerian who somehow got knighted. Although, on his first joust(In a Noble Knight's game) the flerian was lynched for lifting the other jouster's purse with the lance.

Tale of the Dragon's Burrow ...

by Canaris Stonefist

 

"Let me tell ye," began Berra loudly and suddenly, "of the dragon Sthender".

"Agin, Unca Berra?" asked a rambunctious youth in green braids, rolling his eyes impatiently.

"Eh?" said Berra, eyeing him suspiciously. "What's that ye say?" He cocked his better ear over, but did not seem to expect an answer.

"Ne'er you mind him, poppa," said a sparkly-eyed young lass. "He's only joshin. Tell it agin, some o the lil ones nay have heard it."

"Ah, yes. So." the grizzled veteran began again. "As I was sayin', t'was nigh a few decades ago, afore some o ye were born," he said, and glared at the green-haired youth meaningfully. "And I was naught but a lad meself, still with foolish thoughts of heroism and adventures, and barely a care about makin sure there's enough mushrooms fer everyone ta eat. I dreamt o defeatin dragons in single combat, and becomin a mighty hero to the folk o the burrow."

"O' course, I had ne'er actually SEEN a dragon, but I surmised they couldna be much larger than the great hulkish oog-ra who lived over the hills and delighted in beatin each other with rocks. And I, as is still the sport as I speak, had often toyed about with the poor critters and addled their brains even further, by tossin off confusin riddles, or merely angerin them and then steppin aside until they left me alone in frustration. As ye know, oog-ra follow the general rule of bigger folk, which is to say that while they are blessed with size, their blessings in the wits department can be accounted as mighty few."

"So logically, I figgered, if dragons were yet bigger than oog-ra, they should indeed be accounted the slowest o the races, both physically, and in a mental sense. Now o' course, as I said, I was but a youth, and my mental acuity in this line of deduction might well be considered somewhat lackin."

Here he paused, as a tiny youth had squealed when he accidentally upset Berra's stein of ale, and gotten himself thoroughly soaked in the process. Berra, being the fine old storyteller he was, used the opportunity to refill his pipe, which had indeed been empty since before he began to speak. Somehow by his manner he seemed as if this was the part of the story where some youth traditionally upset the ale, and one should not take that by any means as an excuse to wander off or lose track of the importance of what he was saying. When the ruckus had settled, and his ale had been refilled by the sparkly-eyed lass, he continued.

"T'was at about this time that the dragon Sthender began t' plague us. Now, 'e was quite a sizable beast, much more than I had visualized. From tail to snout he measured at least a dozen oog-ra long, perhaps more, and practically all of him was covered in sharp edges, what with his great terrible fangs, fierce claws, and scaled the whole way down. He flew through the air as birds do, but when he passed his size blackened the sky. He was pitiless, and snapped up young flers as merely snacks on his voracious path o' destruction."

Some of the younger flerians shuddered involuntarily, and one hid his head with his hands to peek out through his fingers, as if such a thing should save him from a dragon's wrath. "He... ATE them, Unca Berra?" said one of the younger (who had not yet heard the tale) miserably.

"Eh? Aye, ate them he did. He was cruel, crueler than one could believe. He ate flerians like so many mushrooms," here he ripped up a mushroom growing from the cave floor and threw it into his mouth, "and he e'en ate the oog-ra. Legend had it that in his fiery rage 'e had actually eaten his own bond, but perhaps in the final accountin' that was too cruel even for him."

"What's a bond?" asked an inquisitive looking youth in the midst of the youngest. "Hmm?" said Berra. "Well, bonds and secians, o' course anybody ought to know about that. But that's quite another story, if ye don't mind." He barrelled on unchecked by the unanswered question.

"So't any rate, we'd 'bout come t' the end o our rope concerning the whole dragon business. We'd spoke to the great fiend on occasion, when he'd already satisfied his voracious appetite. He became inflamed easily for the least o reasons, if we forgot to say 'ah at the end o his name fer respect, or if he was jest in a poor mood that day. He would kill sometime even when his gullet was stuffed."

"The long and short of our talkin to him was that he claimed the right to hunt us as he pleased, and he reckoned we should feel grateful t' him fer not killin us all in his dragonish 'mercy'. Now as I said, we weren't exactly too partial t' this particular arrangement. So we hatched a plan."

Here he paused to refill his pipe again. The younger squirmed impatiently in their seats, while the green-braided youth yawned studiously, though his eyes did betray more than a hint of interest. "So, where was I?" said Berra, after a pregnant pause. "The plan! The plan!" shouted the little ones.

"Ah, yes, the plan. Well, I canna give away the entire plan, as it'd give away the end o the story. But suffice it to say that we decided we required the assistance o the local Oog-ra tribes. So off went Grandfather Canaris"

-- Now perhaps I'd best explain that Grandfather Canaris is not me, but indeed that I'm named after him as a sign of respect from my parents. And, in fact, he was not my grandfather, but my great grandfather, "Grandfather" being a title of honor more than of family, and one given by the entire burrow. While it may seem confusing to you (and I just realize that now setting quill to parchment) I was hardly confused with the great man in person, as indeed folk had a slightly different way of saying them when they were referring to one or the other, as "Canaris! Clean out the closets!" or "Canaris is the great hope of our burrow." I expect even the most juvenile reader will grasp that Grandfather Canaris was not expected to clean out the closets. That being said, let me return to Uncle Berra, who would be quite visibly steaming by now if he had to listen to me rattle on so... --

"So off went Grandfather Canaris, though he was nay called Grandfather yet, t' talk with the Oog-ra, who had been experiencin some similar problems with the great beast. After he had negotiated for their help-"

"How?" broke in a young lass.

Berra looked surprised. "Why, that tale is Grandfather Canaris' to tell, not mine, and you should hear it from his lips. He tells it finer than I do anywho."

"So Grandfather returned, somewhat ruffled from his time with the Oog-ra tribes, but with their assurance of help in the great plan. So we put the other parts of the plan into motion, and dug the extra tunnels we required."

"For, you see, we planned to trap the great monster."

Here he paused deliberately, as storytellers are wont to do when they expect gasps, and his expectations were met admirably.

"The plan required volunteers. Now I was naturally one of them,"

"Weren't ya scared?" said a blue eyed child.

"Well, o course I was scared, ye ninny, I dinna want to be eaten by a dragon," Berra barked. The youth blushed, and Berra tickled her to show that he wasn't really upset. "I was frightened, but the burrow needed help. And besides, I still did have somewhat of a longin fer adventure."

"So all the parts o the plan were put into motion, and we, the young volunteers, acted as we were playin a game out on the meadow. And sure enough, as we thought he would, out came the dragon Sthender, makin if as to eat us. And we put up a great hollerin and ran like the divil, and we ran fer the tunnels. And most o' us made it," and here he paused to wipe a tear from his eye, "though he did catch me brother Randall." Before the mood of mourning could sink on, he plunged on with his tale.

"So when we got to the tunnels, Sthender had to choose a flerian to pursue, as we'd split up. He chose ME."

And when he said that there was real terror amongst the youth, and some of the older had to tend to the younger so they could listen and not get frightened out of a year's growth. Berra's eyes had caught fire now, and his normally loud tone subsided to near a whisper.

"I ran as fast as me legs could carry me, and crawled down 's far into the tunnel as we had dug it. Ye would scarce believe a dragon's neck would be so long, but his head followed me down so far t'was no farther from me than ye are now."

"And 'is eyes were like a raging bonfire, and they were terrible indeed to behold. I couldna even keep eye contact with the great beast as he surveyed me, his prey."

"And he spoke," Berra said painedly, "and he spoke, and ye have ne'er heard such a noise. Imagine yer mother shouting at ye for doin somethin amiss. Now imagine yer mother was an oog-ra. Now imagine she was an entire tribe o' oog-ra. Ye have ne'er heard such a noise, and I hope t' the Unknown one that ye ne'er have to hear it."

"And he said," and Berra began to bellow, "FLERIAN. YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM ME, FLERIAN. YOU CANNOT RUN FROM ME, FLERIAN. I WILL CATCH YOU, AND I WILL EAT YOU." And one of the smaller children burst into tears at this point.

"But then," said Berra, quiet again, "but then, he got a sudden far-off look in his eye, like he had suddenly remembered he was supposed to meet someone. Our plan had gone into action."

He paused briefly this time, and then continued, "The Oogra tribes had been recruited to roll a great boulder on top of his neck. Now this boulder was a mighty one, and Sthender couldna dislodge it from the angle he was at. And mayhap he would've burnt me to a crisp, but his gullet must ha' been pinched shut by the great rock. There was no question, he was trapped, and there was naught he could do about it."

Berra got a glassy look in his eye as he continued. "He couldna do anything, but the oog-ra could. They took their mallets, their spears, their axes, and tore into Sthender wi' all their brute rage. I was told by th' others later that there were dozens o' them slaughtering the beast."

"And all that time," he said, his voice quavering slightly, "all that time, I was in wi' his head. His howling was akin to no earthly noise I've e'er heard. And when those fiery eyes finally went dead, I felt as I'd spent half o me life in there with that huge, monstrous head."

"Before he finally gave up on breathin', though, he spoke to me, and he said" and here Berra spoke the lines with the assurance of long memorization, "FLERIAN. HEAR ME. YOU HAVE WITNESSED THE PASSING OF GREATNESS. PERHAPS IT WILL ALWAYS BE THE WAY THAT THE GREAT WILL FALL, AND SUCCUMB TO THE WEAK. BUT THE RIVERS AND MOUNTAINS WILL MOURN MY PASSING."

Berra paused long here, and took a few puffs of his pipe. His look was distant, and it took a few moments before he could bring himself out of his reverie. "An' I ne'er heard words since then as clear." He sighed and poked helplessly at his ear. The children were respectfully silent. Some were gaping openly.

"So, t'any rate," he continued, "the oog-ra had slain the dragon, or we had, dependin on whether ye count brain or brawn fer more in the tellin o' it. But the dragon's thrashin had destroyed our burrow utterly. There wasna barely a trace o the home we'd had."

"So we built our new home, here, inside the bones of the great beast. The Oog-ra had pounded his remains into the ground, and Sthender's bones support our burrow's walls and ceilings as they did his frame. And that, children, is why our burrow is named the Dragon's Burrow, and why ye will sometimes hear yer elders mentioning his name when they are cursing like an Arach."

As it seemed he was done, some of the children made as to ask questions, but Berra said quietly, "ask me later, I've some thinkin to do." and slowly gazed up at the bones criss-crossing over the main hall.

~~ Canaris Stonefist

A Lesson Earned, and a Lesson Learned ...

Well, it is often when traveling about in the fine city of Spur that I am stopped and asked, "Oh, a Flerian Odarian Hand Cleric! How extraordinary! How did you come about to be?".... Errr ok, you found me out. Its actually more like, "It's a flerian! Hide your valuables.", and then I would be pointed at as a freak of nature or pelted with pebbles by those who don't know me (and heck even sometimes by those who do). But anyways, this is a story about how my family burrow, and my humble career came to be. I come from a long ancient lineage line of fine flerian Odarians who bravely battled and struggled against great odds to conquer and build a burrow which has withstood as a beacon of goodness and honor and valor which the world has never....,umm ok, you caught me again. My dad actually taught me. He was the first flerian Odarian hand cleric of our family burrow, and his name was Glory Beads.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Yeah, that's right. This is a tale of two cities. Glory came from the belly of a beast city called Ironjung. A dirty, sleazy trading and steelworking town where the hithuals worked hard and played even harder. Ironjung was a place where Set ruled behind the scenes, and thief guilds were rampant and lurking in every corner, though no proper hithual that lived there would say so. Businesses in town were mostly corrupted by san elf smuggling, racketeering, extortion, assassination, and spying among other various assorted criminal activities. But even some greedy drag-als had a few fingers in the pie by setting up casinos and seedy inns around town.

Glory and his family started out life there as Setite underling thieves for a unoriginal named guild called Shadows. Shadows was run by an ambitious and desperate san elf by the name of Venomspit. He was ambitious because Ironjung was swarming with enough thief guilds to make pickings slim to say the least. He was desperate because he hired the Beads as part of the guild, a clan of the worst flerian thieves ever seen. And by worst I don't mean they were nasty looking or stealing everything in sight, I mean they were plain awful.

Unskilled, clumsy, witless, loud, unalert, just opposite of everything you might expect of a good flerian thief. The Beads couldn't pick locks, pockets or even their teeth half the time. They couldn't sneak, rob, backstab well, or even disguise themselves as drunken hithuals which should have been as easy as sticking on a false beard and carrying a tankard of ale. The only things they had going for them was their quick speed in running away after they would botch their assignments up, and that they were snappy dressers. Needless to say after awhile it was time for the Beads to high-tail it out of Ironjung with Venomspit cursing after them.

This is where the second city comes in by the name of HicksHill. It was a city that was only a stone throw away from Ironjung. HicksHill was a countryside, down to earth, homespun place. Run by mostly artisans, craftmakers, and bards. Elindale's spirit was strong with plenty of foresters and fir elves. And a pretty decent population of flerians too. HicksHill and Ironjung had fought each other plenty in the past given that Ironjung was of Set and san elves. Ironjung would always try to attack and conquer HicksHill, but always would be beaten back by the citizens clever use of the lands hilly terrain to defend the city. That, and the fact they had a magick fountain that poured forth a never-ending supply of health potions. The Beads decided that HicksHill would be the natural place to start over and find a new burrow to live in. Nice people, nice area, plenty of good stealing.. err shopping. Green acres-we-are-there. But meanwhile back at the Shadow lair in Ironjung, Venomspit was pissed.

" I'm Pissed! Dam those Flerians!" said Venomspit as he threw something at his flerian personal assistant Sharpie. "Why'd I ever hire that bunch of incompetent flerians? Aren't flerians supposed to be good thieves? You guys are small, easily hidden, and you can fit in any shadow. It seems only logical you can spy, steal, find secrets only other races would dream of listening in on. But no, the Beads are about as stealthy as a drunken oog-ra in a dancing contest. Other guilds in town have masterful flerians from other burrows. Why not me?, by Set!", he blustered in frustration.

Sharpie nodded sympathetically and said, "Well, boss, most of us is good, even great thieves. But these Beads guys.. seems they umm kinda fudged on their resumes and references." Venomspit shot a angry snarl at Sharpie. He cringed and humbly went on, "We tried Boss, really we did. We tried to train em good. If they was normal flerians at all, they should of picked up on some skills...but..", he finished weakly. "Yes, yes, it seems we aren't dealing with normal flerians here..", Venomspit replied, sighed, and looked to the pile of papers at his desk. The san elf grabbed a couple in a tightly clenched fist and roughly gritted his teeth in rage. Sharpie whimpered at the shouting about to begin, for he knew what was on those papers.

"BILLS! They dare to leave me with bills!",Venomspit yelled as veins popped out on his high forehead. "The insolence, the audacity they have to charge the guild Shadows for their expenses!" In a fury he quickly shuffled through the various papers. "Here! A bill for seven custom made tuxedos from the local tailor shop. Here! A bill for gambling at Tuck's Casino. Another! For room service at Swank Hotel where they ordered mushroom pies, mushroom omlettes, mushroom stew, mushroom salads, grilled mushrooms, fried mushrooms, pickled mushrooms, mushroom cake, and, and.. mushroom soup! of course!" Venomspit huffed almost out of breath while Sharpie stood dreamingly as he drooled at the list.

The guildmaster threw some papers at the small assistant and began anew. "Look here! bills for other hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, other casinos! Bills for magick dry cleaning on the tuxedos! Bar tabs were they threw parties at various hotel lounges! What kind of drinks are mushroom martinis?! Don't they know to be thieving spies, it involves being unseen, sneaking around in the dark, or disguising as someone ordinary. Not living it up in the lap of luxery while gambling in casinos!" Sharpie turned around and chuckled to himself for he had been to a few of those parties, incognito of course. "Shaken, not stirred", the flerian mumbled gleefully in memory of when Glory had ordered a round of drinks. Venomspit grew even more cross. "Sharpie! Find this amusing? Perhaps you'll find it amusing if I fed you to our arachnian assassins hmm?" He laughed cruelly as the little flerian turned pale white at the thought.

But then it was Venomspit's turn to go pale (well, as pale as a dark elf could be) when Sharpie put a fancily scripted paper on top of the pile. It was an official notice from the Ironjung merchants guild that these bills better be paid promptly, or they would be handled by the frontacian bill collection agency. "Dam those Frontacians!", Venomspit muttered, for he heard they knew more than one way to drain off a thieves' guild financial resources. He held his head in his hands and simpered softly, "Do you remember when I had those failures rob various taverns that one night?" Sharpie winced as he remembered. The san elf stammered in a shaky voice of disbelief, "Beer nuts and popcorn...They stole crates of beer nuts and popcorn! Taverns give those out for free. I mean if they stole ale at least that would be something. Hithuals would pay an arm and a leg to get their drinks back but...", he trailed off in disgust.

"Find me those...", Sharpie then quickly interupted, "Word on the street is they heading to HicksHill to start a new burrow there." Venomspit looked up startled and furrowed his brow. "Dam those Fir Elves! Hmm this could be complicated. Let's see. How to get at them without stirring up that towns local gentry? Hmm..." The flerian cleared his throat and said matter-of-factly, "There's going to be a huge Elindale Fest in the middle of town in a couple of months there. Most flerian burrows are on the outskirts of town, so ya could hit em while the town's busy with the fest, and none would be the wiser, boss."

Venomspit mulled this over a minute, nodded in agreement, smiled broadly, and petted his assistant. He spoke to him in a drifting, wistful voice, "Yes, we shall attack their burrow then. Ahh, Sharpie if only your whole burrow wasn't wiped out by rabid dust bunnies, I would have never had to hire those fools....But steal another plot deposition from me again, and you'll join the Beads in their dastardly demise!", he laughed madly and pushed Sharpie away umm sharply. "Now go! I've got some creative accounting to attend to...", and Venomspit cursed at the papers as Sharpie exited in a hurry.

Back at the outskirts of HicksHill, the Beads family was making their journey. There was my father Glory, his six younger brothers and ex-partners in crime (you'll learn their names later), and assorted family members such as, sisters, wives, cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins twice removed then let back in some reason, and various stray orphan urchins who tagged along and fit right in. Altogether fifty or so flerians. They came to a guard outpost with two fir elf guards on duty. "Halt! Who..." the first guard started to say, but Glory held up a hand and interrupted him. "It's a funny thing, this situation reminds me of a joke..." Glory said loudly so the clan and the guards could hear him clearly.

"There once was two fir elf guards who saw a bunch of flerians entering HicksHill. They were quite suspicious of this Setite bunch of flerians entering the city, so they questioned them thoroughly. They learned of their perilous flight from the city of Ironjung and the evil grasp of the constipated and anal retentive, san elf, Venomspit.." Glory then stopped and spit at the ground at the mention of his name. The rest of the clan followed suit, and spit a great "Paahhhaatuuueey!" together. Glory grinned slyly and continued, "The guards were sympathetic, but they couldn't have Setites entering the city freely and some day betray their new home, no that would not do..So the clan was told to show their new loyalty by renouncing Set and his wicked ways at the conveniently placed small altar by the guard outpost." Glory pointed to the area where a small altar was.

"The group gladly did so since they were poor examples of Set anyways and the godmarks were gone." Glory motioned to the family, and they all renounced including Glory. The astonished guards looked on, one started to speak, but Glory interrupted again after renouncing. "Then the flerians were told that they would have to get regular jobs in the city if they wanted to live here. That they should seek employment at the local forester guild quarters, and look up the flerians there to find a location for a new burrow." Glory nodded, apparently satisfied at the puzzled look from the guards with stunned open mouths. "And the flerians agreed to the guards suggestions, waved, said thank you for your assistance, and went on their way to start a new life in HicksHill."

They began to walk away from the guards when one curious flerian of the group asked, "But Glory, what's the punchline of the joke?" Glory chuckled and replied, "Oh yes...I believe it goes...Rectum?! Rect-um?! It dam near killed em!" The flerians roared with laughter as they loved a good nonsense punchline, and they left for the foresters guild. Both fir elf guards groaned, shook their heads, muttered, "Smart-arse flerian.", and went back to guard duty.

So the next week or two were busy for the Beads to say the very least. They met up with some friendly flerian foresters who gave them an old go-blin lair they had cleared out recently. It was not far away, and ready made to convert into a new burrow. Now, I'd like to say that the Beads settled right in, became foresters, and lived happily ever after.. but this was not the case. Oh, they made a new burrow alright, but as far as jobs went, they took to the forestry field like a fish to the desert sands. They couldn't track, hunt, skin, and .. well, you get the idea. Now the forester flerians let them hang on by doing simple tasks like stacking skins, feeding familiars, and watering house plants, but they knew the Beads would have to find something else to do soon.

After a couple of days, forester guild caught wind of some news and told the Beads. "Word on the field is that the Shadows guild know that you are here, and they are coming to exact revenge during the Elindale Fest.", said a forester to Glory while secretly wishing that the Beads would get the hint and move somewhere else. Glory grew worried but hopeful and asked the forester, "Gee, um could you guys help, umm maybe, fight em off? We'd hate to leave after making a new home and all." The forester furrowed his brow and realized he would have to use tact here. "Let me confer with my associates. A moment, please", said the forester and huddled with his fellows.Glory bit his nails and paced, but he could hear words spoken like, "No way." " It's their problem." "I found one of my dogs dead after being force fed a potted plant, let the fools rot." The foresters stopped talking, nodded in agreement, and one walked back to Glory.

"Sorry, but to truly be one of the community of HicksHill, your burrow must show your self-sufficiency and ability to stand on its own against problems. After all you did get into this mess by being Setite thieves in Ironjung." The other foresters nodded again. "Please don't take this as us being cold-hearted as we have been more than generous and helpful with you so far..." "Yes, you have been most kind, and we of the Beads family thank you all dearly, but..", said Glory humbly. The forester interrupted, "And we may continue to help in the future, heck, you can even keep on your jobs with us." The forester with the dead dog shot out a dirty look. The forester spoke on, "Quite frankly, this is your burrow, your fight, not ours." The foresters then left a dejected Glory with a spring in their step thinking the Beads would turn tail and run for sure, and they happily hugged some trees on their way home.

The mutterings and worried comments of the burrow after the foresters left had become too much for Glory after awhile. He stepped out in the afternoon sun, and he went for a walk along a local path to clear his head of the dilemma. The path lead along to a small alcove where a small waterfall fell into a small outlet and trickling brook. Behind the waterfall, Glory spied two blurry figures. Along the brook were two piles of white robes, some backpacks, some bags, and a very attractive, glistening in the sunshine, come and take me I'm all yours, bright, shiny, silver object. "No, I really shouldn't..I'm not a thief anymore..", Glory quietly mumbled to himself as he felt a cold sweat form on his upper lips, "Oh but it looks oh so..so..precious...oh, just this once and never again." Glory glanced quickly around and tried to creep up quietly, ever so quietly as the silver eagle charm looked bigger and brighter and more inviting as he got closer and started to reach for the charm. Now as mentioned so many times before, the Beads tended to be stealthy as a marching band and alert as a hibernating bear. So, there was no chance in hell of Glory noticing a seven foot something leuian who heard Glory from behind the waterfall and emerged to pounce on the flerian to catch him almost red-handed stealing his charm. No chance at all.

The dark furred leuian ran and leapt over with an angry growl and tossed Glory aside from the pile of belongings. Glory landed roughly on his back, but miraculously managed to recover into a low stance.A second white furred leuian who seemed to be tall, old, and creaky walked from the waterfall to see what all the commotion was about. The dark leuian stood towering, looked down, pointed to Glory, and said in a low rumble,"Prepare to die little fool thief. For those who steal from Battleclaw the hand cleric, soon have no life." "Oh, pleased to meet you, Battleclaw. But I'm really no thief so you shouldn't have to trouble yourself to kill me and all.. errr I was just taking a closer look at that charming charm heh... Ohh Mommy!"

Glory was cut off as two lightning quick kicks came straight at his head. Somehow Glory twisted and turned so neither kick landed. Battleclaw paused for a second in shock, while the second old white leuian looked on and gaped in disbelief that the flerian had dodged. Battleclaw then recovered and launched some punchs at Glory. Again nothing but air. Battleclaw then roared in rage and let loose in a fury of claws and spittle. Glory dodged some but was clipped badly and fell back this time with a furry foot stamped onto his chest that pinned him down. He wimpered and closed his eyes tightly, waiting for passage into that big burrow in the sky.

"Stay that claw brash one! Stay that claw. That's right..oh don't you.. ufff let me get over there..Hold on, hold on..", said the ancient leuian as he shuffled over to Glory. Battleclaw held a stance over Glory, growled, and rolled his eyes at the other leuian. "This little thing deserves to die! Let me pay him his due master!" The white leuian seemingly ignored him as he gathered his clothing, dressed and got his belongings together. "Now, now, my unobservant pupil, mister claw first, think later, let us go over some facts. First off, this flerian has no mark of the nameless one like most of his kind do, not your standard thief hmm? Secondly, he couldn't manage to sneak to or even touch that Odarian charm from two leuians busy batheing behind a waterfall from say a hundred feet away? Horrible thief, horrible, a novice should have had it. But that quickness, that speed, in how he dodged those kicks with no training whatever, interesting. We must find out more about this unusal flerian"

"You go too far old man!", said Battleclaw as he spun around angrily at the old leuian. "You insult my skills and give mercy to those that should recieve none!" Battleclaw then walked away from Glory and moved to confront the older leuian. Glory sighed his relief and sat up to treat his claw wounds. "You are weak Longtooth! This is the final act I can stand from you. If this is your Odarian way of a hand, then I want no more part of it! I am no longer your pupil, I leave for Spur. Anyways, I have learned all I care to from a broken down has-been living in the past.", Battleclaw teased with a smirk.

The young leuian grabbed his belongings, hastily dressed and broke his Odarian charm to the bitter disappointment of the old hand Longtooth. Battleclaw tossed the charm at Glory and it shattered. "Have fun with the rodent, Longtooth. Bah... I let him live as a favor to you, but I shall join Taath and mercy shall stay my bloody claws no further. Mark my words, you will hear of me in the future, for many will fall to the power and might of Battleclaw!" He strode away confidently, leaving Longtooth shaking his head sadly. Longtooth sighed, "Ah that one will be doomed to an early grave if his skills don't catch up to his bravado."

Truer words could not have been spoken by the experienced hand cleric, for Battleclaw did not exactly excel in Spur. He joined Taath like he said, and he picked on some bards and usil elf sages for sport, but met his match on one unfortunate night. It seemed he picked a fight with a bunch of rowdy drunken hithuals and drag-als who were low on ale money. Battleclaw boasted and bragged so much to the group before fighting, that they had no choice but to skin him alive and sell his fur for a round of drinks. Word was that the thirsty group was hunted down by Taathians in revenge. They were tied up and sacrificed on an altar, beaten and whipped to death by female, scantily clad, san elf, sword clerics. Taath was not pleased that they all died with huge grins on their faces.

"So little one, introductions are in order, I think." Longtooth bowed tenderly and said proudly, "I am Longtooth Evergood, Odarian Hand Cleric and former headmaster of the Bravery, Loyalty, and Truth school divsion of martial arts." Glory gasped, "Not the B.L.T. ?!" Glory heard of the school constantly talked about during lunchtime as a thief. Because a lot of thieves in Ironjung had been killed by their graduates. "Why yes the very same, but I now freelance and teach only individuals on a personal basis in my advanced age. And you are?", Longtooth asked with a raised eyebrow. "The name's Beads, Glory Beads. Former spy, thief, and forester assistant. Soon to be future dirt-napper-in-a-grave if I can't find a way out for my family and burrow." Glory sighed hopelessly. "Why so down Glory? Mayhaps you tell me of your problem and we can come up with a solution together?" Longtooth smiled and said, "I have nothing but time now that my only student has run off." So Glory spilled his guts out.

Glory wiped his mouth after getting sick on the ground and said, "Sorry bad batch of mushrooms for lunch, heh." Longtooth moaned and tapped his foot waiting for Glory to begin. "It was the best of times. It was the....", started Glory. You know the rest and so after hearing the umm stirring?(ok maybe mildly interesting?) tale so far Longtooth pondered on the problem at hand. "Maybe this hand can lend a hand, and teach a new hand to defend his land against this evil band. Let us make a plan..." "Wait! whoah.., let me understand.", said Glory. "You want to teach me to be a hand? Have you flipped the lid of your can? Err I mean, are you out of your mind?" Glory quietly mumbled thru gritted teeth, "Now he's got me doing it."

Longtooth replied, "No. I think I can. Teach you and beat back the San. It is better than if your burrow ran. Act not like a mouse but like a.." Glory cut in with a doubting voice, "Man! Yeah, yeah, but I'm a flerian, not a leuian like yourself, hello? Any logic home in there?", said Glory cynically. "Yes, yes, it will be quite a challenge to train a flerian, both as an Odarian and a hand cleric.", said Longtooth with a wild gleeful grin. "Come let us start. It is time we began. Sit with me by the brook on the sand." Glory followed Longtooth skeptically. He thought maybe Battleclaw was right in this leuian being senile, for why would he teach a flerian martial arts?, also there was no sand by the brook, and what was with all that wierd rhyming?

Glory sat beside Longtooth and asked further if there wasn't some other way Longtooth could help him and his burrow. Could he get help from other leuians? like former B.L.T. graduates, they always seemed glad to kill thieves in Ironjung after all. Or could he speak to the HicksHill miltia to go above the foresters guild head and convince them to help? Glory asked him about getting his fellow Odarians in the area to help. But stubborn old Longtooth would have none of it. "Odarous helps those that help themselves, Glory. No, I see the path that your burrow must take.You are here today for a grand purpose, the nameless one and Elindale seem to have passed on you, let us see if Odarous is for you. A flerian burrow needs defending, and a defender you can be." Glory shook his head slightly, still not fully convinced, but he didn't have any other options at the moment if he wanted his burrow to stay. "Ok, let's get kicking." Glory tried to sound enthusiastic as he stood with a shrug.

Longtooth brightened, but suddenly sprang up and put Glory in his exact original sitting place with a pull, a push, and a foot sweep. Longtooth petted Glory gently on the head and said, "First we work on the head and the heart, then the body will follow. We shall begin with some lecture on morals and the ways of being an Odarian. You shall earn your way to Odarous, for it is a ardous, disciplined path filled with many.." Glory grinned as he rudely but in and said, "Ahh, free your mind, and your arse will follow. Think I heard that one from a bard on the dance floor at the Swank Lounge. There was this female drag-al, boy, she could cut a rug, course they got those claw-like feet, easy to cut a rug with those, and.." Smack! went a sharp slap to the back of Glory's head that sounded worse than it felt. "Now pay attention..please.. I shall give a chance to comment and question later." Longtooth rolled his eyes and thought a challenge indeed, Odarous help me with this one.

Longtooth lectured on for hours during the rest of the day into the mid-evening. He somehow got some lessons out through a huge smattering of comments from Glory like, "Now why would I want to do that?", "You must be joking!", "As IF!", "Sorry was I napping?", and "But in that situation wouldn't it just be easier to give a kick and cave it's head in?" Longtooth tired and weary pointed to a small cabin in the distance across the brook. " That's enough for today. I am staying there, so come every day for this week. We shall continue lectures until I am satisfied you are ready to convert to Odarous. Blessed afterlife help us that he decides to take you as an Odarian!" The ancient leuian sighed and petted the flerian gently as Glory started to sniffle, either hurt by the comment or having a huge flerian booger in his nose. "Now, now. I'm sorry. I am tired after dueling with that flerian curiosity and sass of yours. You have asked more of me than all my lectures at the B.L.T." Longtooth flailed his arms in exasperation.

"After a week of lectures we shall go to the local temple. IF! Odarous takes you, then we can start on the physical training. That should give you enough time to take on at least ten thieves by yourself when Venomspit arrives." "Really? Wow! Gee, but there will surely be more than that coming..." Glory snapped his fingers and said, "I know, my six brothers! You could train my brothers too! I'll bring them tomorrow. See ya then!" Glory waved and quickly ran off before Longtooth could have a chance to turn him down. The ancient leuian shuffled gingerly to the cabin. Longtooth tended to his sore paw from all the head slappings before going to bed that night, and he mumbled hopefully to himself, "Hmm, maybe his brothers are more easier trained than that one?"

Untruer words could have not been spoken by the experienced hand cleric. The next day after convincing the Beads burrow that he wasn't suffering from delusions after head injuries, Glory arrived with his six brothers at the cabin. "Hiya, Longtooth. Let me introduce my six brothers. In order of birth behind me, we have Sleazy (who was really homesick for Ironjung as you might guess), Scabby, Scratchy, and Itchy(the skin conditioned triplets), Slothful(most people say that I, Rally, take after this uncle for some reason), and the youngest one Hyper(one of those flerians who always seemed to be on an intense sugar rush)." Longtooth bowed politely and ushered them to the grounds in front of the cabin. "Ohboy-ohboy-wegonnastart-wee-gonnabe-hands-geewee-gonnakickbutt-yep-nomoreSpit-Spitbegone-gonna..", Hyper brain-spasmed out while hopping around. Longtooth and the rest of the Beads brothers rolled their eyes. Longtooth glared to Glory, then the elder flerian nodded, walked up, and smacked Hyper on the back of the head. "Shaddup and pay attention!", ordered Glory all stern Odarian-like. Longtooth grinned proudly as he thought, hey, he's getting the hang of it.

"Alright Beads, I'm sure Glory filled you in already on the deal so far, to try to convert you and so on, so that I don't have to repeat that part. Let us start the lecture on honor and the Odarian codes.." Longtooth spoke on as various Bead brothers whispered to Glory in flerian, "What's with all this honor stuff?" "Are we really gonna have to know all this?" "Are we getting quized on this?" "He grading pass/fail?" "Is it ok if I take a nap?", and "Ohboyohboyohboy-geeme-forgetquestshun-gonna..?" Glory whispered back, "Guys, guys, just go along, neat moves are ours if we sit through all this stuff. C'mon act like you're paying attention." Glory was caught by a bothered Longtooth who asked, "Glory you have something to comment on?"

"Oh, just the boys here can't wait to learn. They having a blast so far, ain't that right guys?" Glory nudged some of them to join in. "Yeah, let's hear more about honor stuff." "More valor talk, heroics is us!" "We won't run away in a fight...ever... um maybe... sometimes... but..." "Ugg I got a itch I can't reach." "Am I flaking again?" "Bamboomsmash-bodyblow-bodyblow-uppercut-uppercut-rightcross-" Longtooth growled and roared out to the heavens with arms held high, "Odarous give me strength!" A glowing eagle appeared above him and filled Longtooth with renewed energy. "Ahh I needed that...Now where was I? Yes, valor and honesty, now these are.."

So they went through lessons for a week. On the end of the final day of lecture Longtooth handed out Seven small white robes to the Beads that he had bought in town. "Ohboyohboyohboy-these-robes-is white-deyalmostis-likelike-snow-whi..." "Shaddup!,"said Sleazy and smacked Hyper with a wink to Longtooth. Longtooth sighed and grinned while thinking they were as ready as they ever were going to be. "Tonight is the night Beads. We are off to the temple. When we get there don't say a word unless asked to! Someone muzzle Hyper. Good, now let's hope they have a light staff working tonight, and that my experiences at the B.L.T. can pull some strings to get the paperwork through quickly. Let us go before I change my mind. Keep your beady fingers crossed, you flerians are going to need all the luck you can get." They all went to the temple with the Beads whistling a happy tune that partly went .."It's off to convert we go..."

"Are thou out of thy skull, brother?", the head human cleric on duty asked Longtooth. "Ye want flerians to join? But I never heard of..." The human looked over at the Beads and blinked in disbelief. "We take thugians nowadays don't we?", Longtooth countered with a shrug. "They have been slapped err lectured quite thoroughly believe me. If Odarous wants them not, then it will not take. I have meditated long on the issue in prayer with our lord, no vision or feeling has told me to stop. I know it's strange, but they could an asset in the long run. We might learn new lessons from a flerian perspective." Longtooth furrowed his brow and said thoughtfully, "Perhaps this is Odarous giving the flerian race a chance to turn around, as penance for killing so many that follow the nameless one." "Or Set playing thy ultimate joke by dumping some of his rejects unto us.", the human sword cleric countered with a slight chuckle, but shrank back when he saw that the leuian was bothered he had named the nameless one. The human paused, pondered, sighed, and nodded his head in agreement. "Temple membership has been down a little around here anyways, thou can give it a shot."

 

Glory knell before the sword cleric at the holy altar and was....blown out of temple running and screaming, driven by divine lightning bolts and angry eagles! No, but seriously folks. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'm. Welcome to Odarous, please remember to donate often, and live a good, clean life. Thank you for choosing the eagle. Now get them baddies! Something like that, and the Beads were in like flynn. Longtooth happily handed out complementary rings and charms with warnings not to pawn them off... ever. They left after congrats all around and made a date to start physical training with Longtooth. It would be in a couple days after they recovered from all righteous partying that night back at the burrow.

While the Beads were busy training kicks and so on, Venomspit was back at Ironjung preparing his guild for the attack. The Shadows guild was not exactly having its finest fiscal moments after the frontacians got through. Venomspit was now forced to take on a "silent partner" in the form of Tuck the drag-al, owner of Tuck's Casino. Tuck decided to visit the guild offices that day to see what Venomspit was doing to turn Shadows around. Venomspit was soon learning much to his bother that there wasn't such a thing as a "silent" drag-al. "So what's with this attack thing in HicksHill I've heard something about?", Tuck asked forcefully perhaps made more confidient by having his thugian bodyguards on either side of him. "Dam Drag-als!", Venomspit hissed to himself quietly. Tuck knocked some ashes of his fine cigar on the floor and blew some smoke rings towards the san elf thief. "What was that? Speak up, or maybe I should have one of my boys here find ya voice?", said Tuck with a smirk as he leaned on the huge thugian to his left side.

Venomspit tried to keep calm as he explained his mission to destroy the Beads for the trouble they have caused the Shadows. Tuck scowled and scoffed. "What's with you san elves and your vegeance deal. It's always revenge this, and we must stirke back that, give it up. They ain't worth the time and energy. Let bygones be bygones. Don't see any profit in it." Venomspit cursed and his devious mind raced for a way to excuse the attack. "Ahh, but there is profit in it, my dear Tuck," said the san elf suddenly. "We shall uproot the burrow, and umm replace them with flerian spies. Yes, yes, we shall say that all the Beads ran away. Then we shall put new flerians in who are explained to be long lost relatives. And we shall use novices from the poor section of the city here, so that they have no Set marks, and they can move about HicksHill freely." Venomspit glanced hopefully at Tuck as the drag-al pondered. "Hmm a flerian foothold into untapped virgin territory. It could give us a real leg-up on the competition. Alright, it's on.", said Tuck as he nodded. "Vengeance shall be mine!", Venomspit cackled wickedly. "Dam san elves.", muttered Tuck as he rolled his eyes.

Two nights later while the Elindale fest was in full swing, Venomspit and Sharpie crouched fifty feet before the Bead's burrow entrance. The Shadows' squads waited back for the signal to move in. "This the best way in Sharpie?", asked Venomspit. The flerian assistant replied, " The best for our attack squads, boss. There are other entrances and exits, but this looks like a pretty modest sized burrow, so probably not too many other ways to get in. This looks like the biggest size for a full-on assault, no point sneaking in with so many of our crew without nightsight." Venomspit nodded and said, "Alright let's go over the attack formation again, so that there's no foul ups. We have the arachnian assassins in first. The five sisters, Trrraccc..umm., Kllrriii...errr however you say them...Dam Arachnian names! The spiders. Send them in first for shock, fear, and to lay down webs on those flerians. Should be easy to hit those flerian failures. Next, the thugian thugs on loan from Tuck. We have about ten of those. Then the monitanian mercenaries, nothing like some M&Ms for a little party, eh Sharpie?", Venomspit chuckled. The flerian thief looked on dumbfounded not getting the joke. The san elf master thief cleared his throat and went on.

"Now that makes about thirty in so far. So human thugs next, then our regular thieves, and finally our special replacement flerians for backup. Save them for cleanup, remember we need them to take over the Beads place." Sharpie nodded dutifully and looked at his troop roster. "Boss, that's about a hundred total with the flerians. There's an estimated fifty to sixty Beads clan famliy total, so maybe we should have the replacements wait out here. They don't have much combat experience besides street fighting. They could get in the way, the seventy we still have going in should be more than enough." Venomspit thought it over and agreed. "Yes, best keep them here then, and besides they might get killed in all the confusion by mistake. Hard to tell you flerians apart you know. Best keep yourself close by my side during the battle, or else you might be taken for a Beads.", said Venomspit mockingly with a teasing laugh. The san elf suddenly snapped his fingers. "Oh, yes, our little surprise. I almost forgot. Have him follow me closely in the dark, I shall reveal him at the appropiate moment. Now enough with the set up. Start the attack signal, Sharpie! It's time...for the Beads to pay...what they owe me...in blood...Muuuuaaahhhaa...haaa...hhaaaahhha! God, I love a good gloat. Let's go!"

The arachnians clicked madly as they raced down the burrow. They webbed the first few flerians near the entrance they saw easily, and heard screams of panic as flerians raced off in all directions. The thugians followed up chanting happily, "Fuzzy food. Fuzzy food.", as they swallowed down a couple of stuck flerians. The monitanians slaughtered some straggler flerians. They hissed hungrily as they carved up some neatly in bite size pieces for a warm blooded meal later. The human thugs whistled and strolled behind bored thinking they weren't to see any real action. The thieves fanned out to the corners slowly stalking and searching. In the middle of them prowled Venomspit, he delightened in the screams of the flerians on the run. Deeper in the burrow word came down to Glory and his brothers that the Shadows were attacking. Longtooth stood with them deciding to help his fellow hands now that the Elindale fest was on. "The plan is working so far, I guess Longtooth.", said Glory grimly. "But we only have so many orphans and second cousins to fight the first wave. If this continues we'll have to dip into cousins, aunts, and uncles. Oh, by the way send in uncle Burt and aunt Gertrud next. Never liked them anyways. We must show and fight soon."

Longtooth nodded and said, "Yes, let's move to our planned places. Remember your brave relatives have not died in vain, for an overconfidient opponent often makes mistakes. We must strike back swiftly to have the element of surprise. They will not be prepared to battle trained hand clerics." Glory yelled out orders, "Have the runners split up their forces. The triplets, you guys lead and fight the spiders at the mushroom gardens. Sleazy and Slouchful have fun with the thugians led into the kitchens and dining hall, I doubt they will ever land a blow of you, especially with all that food within reach distracting them. Me and Longtooth will get the lizards in the lounge. Hyper, you take all the fighting members of our family thats left and keep those thugs and thieves busy circling around side tunnels until we all meet up in the main collectible chamber outside the meeting hall. Keep the non-fighting members safe walled up in the snuggling sleeping chambers. Let's show em what a bunch of burrow defenders can do best! err besides running, heh"

"No appearance of the Beads brothers yet, boss. They playing school-girl games so far.", said Sharpie. "They are a pitiful bunch indeed with all this running. Not exciting as I hoped. Oh well, have them chased down. They can only run so much before they beg for their miserable lives. I do so hope that they do, hee, hee!", said Venomspit gleefully cackling. "Wait! There's three of the Beads brothers with the spiders after them! There's two more with the thugians, huh? with food in their hands?", said the san surprised. "Looks like turkey legs, boss. They got the thugs drooling after em." "Strange...but what's this? It's Glory!, and a leuian by the lizards, ah Sharpie your sources were right. They do have a old B.L.T. teacher helping them. No matter, our surprise guest will take of that old hand. Get him ready to..", a sudden knock to head from a rock turned Venomspit around to face Hyper Beads. Hyper yelled out, "Comeandgetme-ya-dirty-elf-me-saw-yur-daddy-smooching-wita-secie-andya-mommy-doin-dewey-decimal-wita-usil-yep-yep", and gave him the "single finger" salute. Venomspit was burning mad and rushed out to hack the little flerian to pieces.

In the mushroom gardens, the arachnian assassins caught up to the three Beads there. The five spiders waved their wicked and wierd shaped, one hand-and-a half, steel, hook-like weapons, and twirled them ready to make the cruelest of cuts on the flerians. Five webs flew out to entrap only the air as they missed the hand clerics. The triplets spun around the webs in a flurry of flerian jumps. The spiders cursed out in their language, "Dam! Hand Clerics!", and they charged in hopeful to at least get in some sharp attacks. Arcs of precise closing swinging circles fell upon the flerians to hit only ground or air in the garden. The flerians then countered with kicks and punchs staggering them back. The arachnians looked down helplessly at the weapons, and they formed a tight circle seemingly ignoring the flerians! "Come sisters, we shall not die in shame to these fuzzy fleas. I call upon the act of Clrrackktrrapklreeeskreee! To the afterweb, we go brave!" "To the afterweb!", cried the five and stabbed each other fatally to the left, and they all dropped dead. The triplets stood there stunned scratching their heads, and arms, and legs, and feet, and back, and.... then remembered to join the others.

In the kitchens and mess hall, the thugian thugs were dining as they were dying. "Hey der George, whut ya got der?" "Me eats dis bird, it good bird. Flerians cooks good. Me wish me eat dem too, dese lit'l guys too fast, doh." "Yah, dat fur sure, ooops der go George.", said the one thugian as the two Beads beat the thugian named George to death. They panted hard as they were getting tired out by the sheer amount of kicks it took to bring the thugians down. Another thugian noticed that they were tired, strolled over and swang a big spiked club at them. He missed by a wide amount, shrugged, and went back to eating a chicken or two. "How many we got to kill still?", asked Slouchful while sweating like a pig. "Five down, five to go, if we don't pass out first, whew!", replied Sleazy as he invoked more vigor auras to refresh himself for the next one.

In the lounge, the monitanians looked warily at Longtooth as they slowly surrounded him and Glory. "Not possible to hit this khat even if he is old, I bet. What's he doing here in a burrow?", spoke a big wide male worriedly sounding in his language. "The ssssan elf got plans for him, best we try the flerian fast for a kill. Claws, then weapons. If that fails, we run. Not worth the money to die here.", said a huge female who was the leader for the group. "On my mark....Now!", yelled the leader. Glory was beseged by fifteen pairs of lizard claws, and he danced, turned, ducked, and covered from all of them. While that was going on, Longtooth laid out some flying kicks that had two monitanians down and out in a blink of an eye. "Bah...Weapons ready...Now!" as the female shouted again in her lizard tongue. Twelve swings, ten misses. A lucky shot put a deep gash on Glory's thigh and another into his left shoulder. "I hit!", cried the two happily that had. Glory struck two other lizards in a series of kicks that sent one down with a broken neck, the other with a shattered leg. Longtooth was desperately sensing that Glory could be in trouble, and leaped out pushing his elderly body to bring down three more with expert attack locations to kill quickly. "Go! We go! Too many dead or wounded. We could get that flerian eventually..maybe...But that Khat's too good. Let ssssan handle him." The leader bowed slightly to Longtooth as they left, going as fast as lizards could move. Longtooth bowed back humbly, and he zapped some health to Glory. "Thanks, ouch, thought they couldn't get me, surprised me there.", Glory said as he tended his wounds. "Never underestimate a crowd of opponents or overestimate your hand defense, Glory. We almost did to your doom. Now let's get to the main chamber."

In the main chamber, Hyper's group was finally back after racing back and forth on a wild chase that only a super charged hopping mad flerian could lead. Hyper hopped like a frog, then a rabbit, and then like a monkey complete with ape-like sounds while saying, "Lookatme-lookatme-me-da-monkey-monk! Monkey-Monk!" Venomspit was boiling mad as he swung wildly with his weapon trying to hit him. The rest of the group was fighting toe-to-toe with the thugs and thieves, but the flerians were starting to get down to three uncles, three aunts, and roughly a dozen cousins in a slowly losing battle. Then the triplets arrived, and the flerians cheered as they ripped into some thugs. They cheered again when Sleazy and Slouchful came and ripped into some thieves. Then they booed as the monitanians showed up, who barely looked up as they ran by quickly to the surface to the curses of Venomspit. They cheered one more time as Glory and Longtooth showed not long after the lizards left. Venomspit smiled assuredly at the sight of Longtooth. "It is time for the battle to turn to my triumph! A have a surprise for you old leuian. I knew from informants through Sharpie here, that you have helped them. I did not know you trained them to be hand clerics it seems, well done. But now prepare to be well done yourself, and make my B.L.T.'er extra crispy!", Venomspit spat and pointed to the black robed figure behind him. "Behold my ace in this stinking hole of a burrow, Vexzor, the frontacian firemage!"

"Ahh, not a triple-f, a freaking, frontacian, firemage!", cried out Glory. He had been warned since the first day of training from Longtooth that mages were a bane to hand clerics everywhere. Their quickness was no defense against magickal might. Vexzor stepped out of a cowled black cloak boldly and his eyes glowed brightly in flame as the frontacian let down a column of flame down upon Hyper. Hyper screamed wildly as he rolled around set ablaze. The firemage then waved his hands at two other flerians nearby who bravely charged him. Two flaming piles of ash were all that were left of two Beads cousins a second later. "The leuian, Vexzor. Get the leuian!", Venomspit shouted out. The frontacian smiled broadly and nodded as he prepared to unleash a volley of spells to obliterate Longtooth utterly. Longtooth was too far away to move upon the mage. He stood calmly and surefooted. A brave cleric seemingly meeting his final fate and nodded to Glory who smiled brightly back at him!

"I got a surprise for you too, Venomspit! Sharpie double dealed ya like any proper flerian thief would, heh. He told us about your ringer.", Glory said with a chuckle as Sharpie quickly ran over to him before Venomspit could react. "Your triple-f, meet some triple-f 's of my own. Go get him, boys!" Venomspit stood and gaped as hidden trapdoors opened on either side by the firemage. Out popped a team of little muscular flerians wearing shiny red helmets and carrying long pole weapons. "No, that's not...It couldn't be...", said Venomspit aghast. "Yep, that's right, flerian fire fighters! Snuff him!" The frontacian wildly shot flame stikes that bounced off the magickally protected yellow rubber cloaks. Elindale enchanced them especially so that fires could not harm the wearers. "You've got to be kidding me. This is the most ridiculous way to...", The frontacian firemage shot out his last words arrogantly as he was stomped to death beneath a stampede of pole swings. "NO! I had you Beads, all of you. Still while there are thugs and thieves here to fight, we shall battle you all til the end. Sharpie, how dare you stab me in... arrghh...in...the back? But who?", said Venomspit through mouthfuls of blood as a dark stain and a steel tip appeared in the middle of his chest. He dropped to his kneels, gave a weak gasp,and crashed face first onto the floor dead.

"The weak minded Venomspit is no more.", said a mysterious san elf who reached down and pulled his knife from Venomspit's back. "I am Fenrolf.", he said to the stunned onlookers. "I have been hired by Tuck to replace this failure permanently. Of course, had Venomspit succeeded today, I would have had to waited until a better oppurtunity presented itself. But that point is moot now. Beads family, I am authorized by Tuck as new Shadows guild lead thief to offer you a end to this conflict. Here is the deal, let those of the Shadows here go freely, and give us back Sharpie who will be forgiven for his betrayal. Do that, and all past and present debts die with Venomspit. We shall bother this burrow no longer. Well?"

Glory grinned and leaned on Longtooth in a relaxed pose. "If we were proper Odarian leuian hands, heh. I'm sure we'd say something like, 'No deal treacherous thieves! Pay for your crimes!' Right Longtooth?", said Glory teasingly towards the leuian who grumbled low but in a good-natured manner. "But we are flerians! err so that means sure, a deal with thieves, no problem. Yes, Fenrolf, we have a deal! After all, how can we ever hope to interact with others of our race, if we never deal with thieves. Are we supposed to arrest every shady flerian we see?" Longtooth started in lecture mood, "Actually as Odarians you should be wary of lawbreakers and...", The Beads all rolled their eyes as one, and the old leuian stopped. "Oh, what the hell. I'll turn a blind eye this one time. When in the burrow, do likewise the flerians I suppose..." And a wild cheer went up from all the flerians.

"Glory, my dear boy, however did you get those foresters to lend you help of the fire fighters? I thought you said they would not help the burrow?", asked Longtooth to Glory. "It cost us a bribe of seven custom made flerian tuxes, but we look better in white robes anyways, heh." "Very good, Glory, very good. It seems that you and the Beads have earned your final lessons here today. I shall be off, but I'm sure we shall meet again. I have learned lessons myself from you all. That flerians can make fine, though not 'traditional', Odarian hand clerics." "A lesson earned, and a lesson learned , eh Longtooh?", said Glory with a grin and a wink. "And-a-lesson-burned-owwie-owwie-oww!", coughed up Hyper still smoking on the ground. And all the burrow celebrated the (relatively) successful defense of their home.

So, many years later, my dad Glory and my uncles taught me how to defend a burrow. They raised me, Rally Beads, to fight the good fights, and run away from the rest. My dad left me with some final lessons before going on. "You are an Odarian, son, so you are a freak to most of your race. You are a flerian and hand cleric, so you are also a freak to most of your religion and class. But live true to this, If an elder powerful diety was to stand alone in the middle of a room filled with flerian Odarian hand clerics..." "I get ya dad, and if he fell over would he make a sound, right? Got to go, off to make my way, see ya!" I heard him mumble as I raced off, "That boy's gonna need all the luck he can get...now where'd I put the rest of that mushroom martini?"

~~ Author Unknown


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