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The Hummingbird

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The Hummingbird last won the day on October 3 2020

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About The Hummingbird

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    Expert Charcoal Wielder, Conte Crayon Adept, Surveyor of Acrylics

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  1. One eyebrow cocked to the side as Kaige grinned ruefully. “Never seen one?” he echoed. “Ah, forsooth, Your Highness, there is rarely anything so beautiful as one in the wild.” He frowned then, for though it was not spoken of he too had heard of the slaughter of a herd in a land not too far from here. It was a cruel thing, a monstrous act, and he wondered what sort of queen would be pleased by such a gift as the murder countless beautiful, pure creatures. The frown vanished as Mephisto spoke, and while anyone would have gasped in shock and wonder, Kaige laughed in delight. Apparently, a talking cat was not the strangest thing he’d seen. “Thou does not bite, your Lordship? Consider me honored.” He stroked Mephisto first on the head, scratching behind the feline’s ears, moving down to the glands at the throat and then, if all was accepted, daring to give a vigorous belly rub. “Forgive me, Majesty, but even weapons can be wonderful things, and choose how they work,” he said to the Queen as he pampered Mephisto. He regarded her somberly. His eyes were sharp, seeing much more than he cared to mention. “My Lord Rafael may be a grand ruler in his own right… but he is less beloved than you seem to believe. There is always more discontent than what is first seen… just as there is more joy than what is first experienced. Thou hath given your people very much, and someday they will return the love you have shown them tenfold.” A bedwarmer? He wondered at the word. I would most certainly… He cut his own thoughts short, only just barely managing to veer his thoughts away from the most inappropriate. He smiled again. “You speak as though failures and shortcomings make up the majority of your rule… again I beg to differ. But pardon me, I too digress.” His eyebrows rose. “It appears I have already acquired a letter requesting a meeting for a job. Perhaps if I prove myself then, I may allow myself to gladly accept early citizenship into your kingdom.” And if I must die… well, there’ll be one less demon hunter.
  2. Although Kaige had said they were close, it was still a long time that they continued deep into the sewers. A half hour, perhaps longer, passed. The tunnels swerved and dipped, splitting into different paths. The murky deepened, sloshing around the ankles. Any skilled tracker would have been hopelessly lost, but Kaige took turns and sharp corners without hesitation. Demon hunters were guided by more than mere tracks. The sound was hardly discernible at first before growing louder. It sounded like a crackling fire and a running creek together, an almost soothing noise before it was joined by another - a slick, sliding, wet sound, like rotten fruit drawn over wood. Kaige stopped, adjusted his grip on his spear, and quickened his step. He glanced at Grant, and the look in his eyes was clear. Get ready. Ahead, the sewers opened into a large interceptor chamber. A crimson light emanated from it, illuminating the brackish water that ran from several pipes built from the walls. In the center, so large it scraped the very apex of the domed ceiling, the Scarlet Swayer waited. Tentacles, uncounted ropes lined with thorns akin to a rose’s stem, lashed and writhed. Veins filled with blood pulsed and throbbed along each pliable limb. Fresh blood dripped from long, scythe like blades that tipped each appendage. All were attached at the base around a single, monstrous eye, wide as four dinner plates set rim to rim. The eye was an eerie, inhuman blue, but everything else was red, and it many arms swayed back and forth as they curled in and around themselves. There was only one word for the thing that rested in the chamber; monster. Behind it, barely seen due to the creature’s girth, was a glowing violet circle embedded in the ground. “Don’t touch the portal,” Kaige growled. “It will suck the life from you.” No sooner was he done speaking than the tentacles shot out like innumerable whips. Kaige ducked and rolled, and the appendages slammed into the sewer floor, causing the walls to shake with the force. Coming to his feet with the grace of a panther, Kaige twisted, his spear swinging out in a wide arc. The blade caught one tentacle, slashing through it with ease. Black blood sprayed out as the detached limb fell to the ground. There was no mouth that could be seen, yet the creature screamed, an ear-splitting screech. At the same moment, every limb bunched and catapulted forth, filling the room with scythes and thorns, flailing, striking out at the two fools that had come to kill it. “Get the eye!” Kaige yelled. The tip of one tentacle slammed into him, and he crashed against a wall.
  3. Outwardly, Rysorian was calm and collected despite his status as a prisoner. His movements remained fluid and inhumanly graceful, as quality even the pirates had come to appreciate as he began the journey through the thick woods. He made almost no sound as he stepped briskly across the forest floor; neither twig nor leaf snapped or crunched under his feet. Inwardly, of course, was different; he was a tight bundle of nerves that screamed to be released. Only looking into his eyes might reveal what he was truly feeling; anger and hate, frustration and vex. He was extremely embarrassed at being in this situation where he was not in control – and in front of a woman! – and it added to his anger, both at himself and at his captors. His hands, though loose at his sides, ached to snatch the simple, lone kitchen knife he’d been given and turn and unleash his wrath on the ship’s first mate Shiron, the one who held his knives and had taken the duty of guarding him. Handsomely blond and with cruel hazel eyes, Shiron was young to be first mate, younger even than Rysorian, but full of intellect and talent for leadership and operation of airships. His apathy for others and greed, however, had led him to being evicted from easy employment. A fight in a bar had gained him Captain Grindelvir’s attention, and so here he was. He watched Rysorian now with suspicion, never trusting the man, sure Rysorian had something planned. He was half right. Rysorian wasn’t sure what he quite intended, but suddenly he stopped, head snapping up. His halt was so abrupt Shiron nearly bumped into his back. “What’s your problem?” Shiron snapped, patience already flayed. “I… think I heard something. Someone,” Rysorian muttered more to himself than to the edgy first mate. We’re not alone. I smelled another human. Dammit, who’s here? And what the fuck… is that smell? The last scent, faint and odd, was queerly familiar, but Rysorian couldn’t place it. He turned partially to the group of pirates. “We need to hurry. This way.” Kevy, the navigator, had keen eyes and a sense of direction sharper than anyone, and mapped out the landscape as they traveled. He kept close to Grindelvir and closer to Imalia, and it was not because he feared her doing anything awry. He’d harassed her time and again on board the Deadly Storm, and his leers promised nothing but ill intentions if she was found to be false. Rysorian did not even chance it to glance at the woman, but he worried about her as they traveled deeper into the forests. If he could get to Dashkanchay, perhaps… but no, it was too far away. He sucked in a hard breath, barely hiding it from Shiron. If only he was alone! @Mickey Flash @Aleksei
  4. Ahhh, the food. There's actually a Redwall cook book, I believe. Whenever I read those passages on whatever feast they're having, I need something to eat. I just watched Saint Maud, what a trippy movie.
  5. The first attempt did not even reach The Secret of Nimh in terms of violence, if I recall correctly. Wouldn't mind the level of the original Watership Down though!
  6. I'm leery of this. It was actually done once before, with mixed results. When you really look at it, the series is actually pretty violent sometimes, so how they going to approach this? I absolutely loved Redwall, and I think it heavily influenced my writing as it was just about the only thing I'd read when I was a kid, so I hope they do well.
  7. “Rakshasas come in many forms, and the Scarlet Swayer is notorious for matching the exact picture of a true monster,” Kaige said, his voice suddenly flat and stern as he followed Grant to the sewers. “They are huge, wtihs harp claws and fangs, but it is because they are huge we want to fight them into the sewers, were movement is limited by tight spaces and corners. However, they are fast. They are also cruel. It will not try to kill us straight away, but make us suffer first. If I fall, my Lord, if you cannot finish it, you had best run and not worry about me.” They reached the gate, but Kaige did not enter immediately. Only a fool leaped straight into danger. Slowly and carefully, Kaige ran his hands of his lean body, testing the belts and buckled holding the armor in place. As he did so he steadied and deepened his breathing, bringing absolute calm and stability to his mind. He tensed and loosened his muscles, stretching arms and legs in brief but full movements before nodding to himself in satisfaction. With a clear head and fresh body, with armor and spell prepared, he was ready. He moved forward, turning the key and opening the gate. Inky shadows and the sickly odor of rot and mold assailed him as he stepped into the sewers, neither of which perturbed him. He was used to such environments. Most of his prey preferred such surroundings, hiding in the darkness, enjoying the dank and sour smells, often dragging the dead and dying into their lairs to play with them for a time. Even low sounds echoed in the sewers, ricocheting off the rounded walls of the brick tunnels. A thin layer of water trickled and splashed underfoot, and overhead moisture slid and dripped. Even so, it was deathly quiet as they ventured further into the sewers, leaving light farther and farther behind. When it seemed they would be completely blind, Kaige reached into a compartment in his armor and pulled out a small sunglobe. With a flicker, it illuminated the space around them with a low, yellow glow. Rats and insects scattered, chirping and hissing at the dim but startling light. Kaige stopped and motioned Grant closer, pointing. “Look.” A few meters away, lying bloated and pale in the water, was the dismembered body of woman. She was sliced clean in half at the waist, her arms and legs severed elbows and knees. Blood drained from the gaping wounds, mixing into the sewage. “Come on,” Kaige growled. “We’re close.”
  8. Although his movements were loose, concerned only with maintaining control of the mop, the tension I his body and other telltale signs indicated his mood. His hands gripped the mop so tight the knuckles were white, ad his eyes were hot and nearly wild looking as he stared down at the deck. His jaw was tight, and a slight hiss came from between his teeth as he scrubbed the deck in long hard sweeps. He stopped, wiping the sweat from his brow and shot another hateful look at his fellow prisoner. Imalia’s last words were barely out of her mouth when he spoke. “How helpful you are,” he spat. He glanced around. There was no one nearby; still, he lowered his voice to a tight whisper. “Tell them I know the way through the forest. Tell them there are guards and other dangers. Have them give me my knives back. We’ll lead them halfway through the forest and escape then.” He looked down at the deck again, and snarled. If it wasn’t for her, escaping would be easy. But he couldn’t just abandon all sense of honor and leave her behind. Again he regarded her, forcing himself to remain cool and composed as possible. “Talk to the captain. He’s stupid enough to believe you. Don’t talk in front of the first mate, Shiron, or navigator, Kevy. They’re smart and they want to kill us, or at least me.” He gave a sniff of contempt. “ I have a plan.” He began scrubbing again. “For now, leave me alone. I have work to do. Try not to let any of the men fuck you while we get to the forest.” Day passed into night and then day again. Ahead, the massive woods loomed, bright and green. The Great Forest was a beautiful, if somewhat foreboding, paradise of wildlife, flora and fauna both. It was a dangerous protection for the residents of the walled city of Dashkanchay. As they neared the border of the forest’s edge, the crew leapt into the action of readying the ship to land and anchor @Mickey Flash @Aleksei
  9. For Salamandastron! EULALIAAAAAAAAAAA!
  10. Once inside the main room, Zenahriel bars and locks the door once more before returning the key to its proper place within Rafael’s study desk. He didn’t bother to conceal where it was stored. In truth, he now trusted Shanna more than he did most people who fought hard to gain his faith. Of course, most succeeded in losing that faith as soon as he placed it in them, but Shanna… she had greater things, greater goals to think on than breaking a man’s belief. He grins at her question at his wings. He turns to her and spreads them, showing off the dramatic red dipped primaries and the gems locked into the wrist joints. “So you like them? Rafael chose the color, but the servants helped paint them. I like to match the season or occasion. I thought red would be most fitting for the Feeding. Next time,” he mused, “I might choose purple, or gold again.” He laughed. “As to maintaining them… all the difficulty of having wings is overshadowed by the gift of flight, my Lady.” He moved to the exit, opening the door. The guard stood there, patiently leaning against the adjacent wall. His sharp eyes, trained to catch any insecurities or suspicious activity, regarded Zenahriel and then Shanna with curiosity. Zenahriel leaned close and whispered a few words to the guard, which caused the latter’s eyes to narrow and then widen every so slightly before giving a nod. Zenahriel took a step back and waved to Shanna. “I will look for your gift, my lovely Lady. Thank you… gifts are usually things I give, and not receive. In the meantime… I have left instructions that you are to be permitted into the library any time you wish.” He bowed to the Lady Shanna. “I have duties to attend to, now, but do not hesitate to call on me again. I have sincerely enjoyed our time.” His wings folded around him, and suddenly, with a burst of violent light, Zenahriel vanished. A lone feather, dipped in red, swirled and drifted down the ground. He was gone.
  11. There was no greater misconception than the idea that the dead looked to be merely sleeping. Their pale skin, the bluish lips, the skin drawn tight across their limbs and faces, and lastly the stillness and unsettling silence from lack of drawing breath. The dead merely looked as they were – dead. Usually an autopsy would have been carried out by now. For these three victims, there was hardly a need. Their arms and legs had been detached form the body with clean cuts, as if from a surgeon’s blade. Various patches of skin had been torn with less delicate precision by teeth that matched no wolf or natural predator Kaige knew of. Dried blood gathered at the creases in skin and the corners of the bodies’ mouths, and there were slim lines of tears that left a translucent path down their faces. It was a saddening and unsettling sight. Despite this, Kaige did not balk. His face was flat as he stepped forward, leaning over the body of one young woman, examining carefully the body of the next, an elderly man, and the last, another woman of middle age. The demon hunter pulled on some gloves, and fingered the edges of the bite wounds and the detached limbs. “No sign of poison,” he murmured. “Growls, you say? Hmm. Blade-like cuts, very clean, bite wounds, hmmm, yet no parts of the body have been eaten. These bodies are… looks like, perhaps a day or two apart. Abdomen cuts, none immediately fatal, meant to cause pain. None died slowly.” Kaige pulled off the gloves, disposing of them in a garbage can. He turned to face Grant. “I say with certainty this is definitely a Rakshasa. Probably one my peers name a Scarlet Swayer. Very dangerous, very sadistic. If I don’t stop it now it will continue killing in increasing numbers.” He looked again at the bodies. “Swayers are best killed in their preferred sleeping place. The sewers. Out in the open, they are infinitely more dangerous.” He eyed Grant. “Show me the entrance to the sewers, my Lord, or we shall see another body soon.”
  12. Many quailed before the demands the Book of Insight implied. Transcendence on any level was no easy feat. To conquer death, to master existence itself, was nearly impossible for countless men and women. Even beings who called themselves celestial or boasted to be beyond the mortal realm could never reach the great Understanding that had propelled Rafael into godhood. It would have been no surprise if Shanna backed away, if she turned her back to the impossible possibilities. Instead, she lunged at it, and Zenahriel laughed. Not at her, but in pleasure that he had found someone whose ambition was equal to Rafael’s. It was true she had not the same power bestowed upon the vampyre lord, but power was not everything. In fact, more than power was needed. There was a vital urgency, a fierce desire to rise, a burning passion dependent entirely on the individual. Lady Shanna had that. When his laughter faded away, he stood, offering his hand to help Shanna from her chair. “Then study,” he said. “Study well and hard, and perhaps – perhaps! – you may reach the level you need. And do not fear what you find on your journey there.” He lifted the Book of Insight and slid it back to its proper place. He paused, then drew another book from the shelf and held it out to the Lady. It was labeled the same as the original Book of Insight, but was notably newer. Marks and notes from others who had studied it – and likely those who failed to understand – lined the margins. While it held the same text as the original, it was still merely a copy and could be spared. “Return it when you are done,” he said. Her question caused an eyebrow to rise and another smile to form. It was not a query many dared to ask of the High Lord. He studied her for a moment, and shrugged. What harm could come? “Not just ambition, Lady Shanna. Rafael is intelligent, fierce, powerful, beautiful. Look at him closer the next time you see him, and ask yourself how someone could not desire him.” Zenahriel’s eyes grew fairly distant even as he led the way back to the main room. “There was time when I grew so tired of life, for the first time. I shall not say why, but I was drawn to despair. I bade Valucre goodbye and made my preparations to sleep for as long as the world turned. Who came to me, to draw me from the edge? None other than Rafael. For months he fought for me, and in the end, he offered me not only hope, but a place by his side and in life itself. I am proud and privileged to have him as my mate. I would do anything for him. I would do everything.”
  13. What gloom! What doom! All the wars and unrest, all the destruction and mayhem, all the lack of cheer and flowers. Well, Chivika decided enough was enough. He’d leave it all behind, and find something good in life! Surely if he wandered far and long enough, he would discover the joy and gaiety he missed… and what do you know, he found it in the form of a brochure he nearly stepped on, on the way out of a hotel door. Comity of the Kitten Pile. So here he was, outside the famed Copper Bell Hotel Casino. It was a nice enough place, fancy and well maintained. Chivika entered it slowly, making sure he was well dressed for a good impression – a very nice Gaian robe, cinched at the waist over a golden-brown silk tunic and a darker shade of slacks. He usually wore brighter colors, but he wasn’t in Genesaris anymore. This was Lagrimosa! Home of trees and, he fertively hoped, tulips! He bounced down the foyer, down halls and stairs, following the signs that led to the pile of kittens the brochure promised. He finally reached the fourth basement, and there it was. More of the same brochures, and the delicious smell of cupcakes, cookies and more various unhealthy baked goods. Chivika beamed as he sprang past the general reception area. Where were they? WHERE WERE THE KITTENS? Instead, he balked, staring wide-eyed at two people initiating a cupcake war. “Uuuuh...” What did someone say at such a violent conflict? ”Umm… so, kittens?”
  14. What exactly Zenahriel saw when he looked at Shanna would forever go unsaid. Sometimes silence spoke louder than words, and it was silence that passed between them, long and oppressive. But when Zenahriel smiled again, a soft upcurving of lips and slight crinkling of the eyes, the silence turned from nearly menacing to a gentle, soothing lack of sound. He turned another page, the rustling of the paper breaking the silence. He leaned lose to the script written across the page, his eyes bright as he took in the secrets locked inside the verse. “Read closely, Shanna.” He waited until she had time to absorb the contents. “Again and thrice again. It says it clearly, and not at all. There are limitless aspects of yourself that exist, beyond this world and Sitra Ahkra. Recognizing this, understanding this, knowing this, you can seize complete control of your multiple selves.” His voice lowered to a whisper, as if the words he made were meant only to be heard by Shanna alone. Perhaps it was so. Zenahriel continued, hushed. “One of these selves is your Death. Look, Shanna. The King, our King, hid that aspect of himself. He is immortal because of that. You can do the same.” He suddenly shut the book, the sharp snap of the covered harsh and startling. He leaned back in the chair, fingers steepling. “Recognition that you are not just here, one person, one body, one soul in a limited world. Speaking in complete truth and commanding through their true names the world around you. Making the blade the ultimate weapon it was always meant to be. And lastly, controlling all your selves and separating yourself from Death completely. All of it, all the possibilities, are known by you now, Shanna.” He leaned close to her, his black eyes devouring hers. Her features continued to shift, subtly, even here in the shadows of the room. Was she as pliable as her face? Could she change, as even her face changed? “Can you learn, Shanna, and transcend to the level of Sauriel Himself? It is not easy. And you must know that I, who gave Rafael the means to reach the power he has earned, cannot reach the state I have revealed to you. I exist in a state… far beyond the means of understanding, in worlds incomprehensible.” As she looked into his eyes, she would see just a glimmer of what he said. He was eternal, the very definition of an undying force.
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